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Oil production in ND relatively flat

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

For his monthly "Director's Cut" oil and gas production report, North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms channeled a song by the group Stealers Wheel.

"I called this one, 'Stuck in the Middle with You,'" Helms said.

The report Helms released reflected May numbers.

"Oil production was up just slightly -- 800 barrels a day is all," Helms said.

The May oil number: 1,393,284 barrels a day. In April, that number was 1,392,485.

"Natural gas numbers were down very slightly -- 11.5 mcf per day," Helms said. "Very, very small changes, almost completely flat."

The state did set a new record for the number of producing wells -- 15,698.

"Most of that was idle wells being returned to production," Helms said. "That's particularly in the traditional pools -- we saw idle wells come back on production because of warmer spring weather."

Helms said those wells are not big contributors to production volumes, but they are important -- in terms of jobs and economics.

Helms also said some companies voluntarily cut production from certain wells, because the state has not yet met its natural gas capture goals. And he said, based on the current oil price, the state won’t see rapid production growth over the next few months.

"We still think the third quarter and the early fourth quarter will see production growth, and we anticipate breaking some records," Helms said. "But we're not going to see the record-setting pace that we've seen sometimes in the past."

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