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ND still #2 in oil?; Natural gas capture exceeds goals

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

Texas continues to be the top oil producing state in the US.

But now, there’s a race for second place.

North Dakota has been second – but New Mexico is giving the state a run for its money.

"More than likely, it's a toss-up," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms, in his monthly "Director's Cut" report. The report reflects April production numbers.

North Dakota’s April oil production was just over 1.2 million barrels a day – an increase of 1.1 percent over March.

"It's a horse race right now," Helms said.

New Mexico is part of the Permian Basin.

"Fantastic productivity, a lit of rigs running," Helms said. "Of course, they don't have winter - at least not like we do."

Helms said there are currently 20 drilling rigs working in North Dakota’s Oil Patch. And at the same time, the number of wells awaiting completion has grown by more than 100. He said there is a need for “frack crews.”

"Our April rig count was 15, today it's 20," Helms said. "Our frack crews in April were 9, and today it's 8. That's going in the opposite direction."

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public
Prairie Public
State Pipeline Authority Executive Director Justin Kringstad.


April natural gas capture still meeting state set goals

North Dakota is still meeting its targets for capture of natural gas.

The gas is produced by oil well drilling in the Bakken.

But regulators say more investment in gas plants and other infrastructure will be necessary over the next few years, to help meet those flaring goals.

"Gas processing statewide, we're in a better position for the next couple of years," said State Pipeline Authority Executive Director Justin Kringstad. "But we're going to need some additional plants that have been planned to come on-line."

Kringstad said one is the delayed expansion of one of the One-OK plants.

Kringstad said it could also put pressure on gas gathering pipelines.

"Any unexpected growth in gas-oil ratios at any point along that gathering system will slowly start to overwhelm the system," Kringstad said. "We'll see pressures build-up, and flares go back to the wellhead. It's going to be a continual challenge to stay on top of the gathering systems."

As of April, North Dakota is capturing 93 percent of natural gas.

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