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Oil production rebounds; no proposals yet for a natural gas pipeline

North Dakota’s oil production was just under 1.1 million barrels per day in the month of June.

Those figures were released by state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms, as part of his monthly “Director’s Cut” report.

Helms said he expects the July production to show growth. But he says August could be a bit more problematic – because of a planned shutdown of the Robinson Lake natural gas processing plant, as well as some reported problems on the Northern Border pipeline.

"Gas capture is likely to limit crude oil production, or at least limit oil production growth in the month of August," Helms said. "Little bit of a wild card there."

Helms said right now, 94 percent of the natural gas is being captured. He says he is expecting the state will be producing over 1.2 million barrels of oil at year end, or in the first quarter of next year.

Helms said the number one issue that is limiting the growth of oil and gas production is workforce.

"It is just extremely difficult to attract workers to North Dakota, to get back into the drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and the well completion and workover rig jobs," Helms said.

Natural Gas Pipeline

Meanwhile. the director of North Dakota’s Pipeline Authority said Monday was the deadline for companies to apply to build a natural gas pipeline from the Bakken to eastern North Dakota.

No company applied.

The state has offered $150 million in “seed money” to a company that wants to build the pipeline.

Justin Kringstad said as Bakken gas production increases, this would be a way to help reduce flaring, as well as provide gas to industrial customers who are asking for the gas.

"I'll be in front of the Industrial Commission at the end of the month, to discuss the next steps," Kringstad said. "Stay tuned as to what those next steps might look like."

At one point, WBI Pipeline was interested – but backed away, because of uncertainties over customers.

Separately, one company has applied to extend gas service from the Viking Pipeline in Minnesota to Grand Forks. Approval of that is pending.

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