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July oil production dropped in North Dakota

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Surprised.

That’s how North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms described the oil production numbers for July.

"We saw a 2 1/2 percent decline in oil production," Helms said at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "We were anticipating a slight increase, and anticipating we would reach that 1.1 million barrel a day mark."

July’s production was just under 1.07 million barrels per day.

"We only had 27 well completions in the month of June," Helms said.

Helms said there was major increase in the number of completions in July — 74.

"Those came late in the month," Helms said. "And they probably didn't hit the oil sales until the last week of July."

Helms says the August numbers were looking good – but then came a problem at the Zeeland compression station on the Northern Border Pipeline, which carries natural gas.

State Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad says that was an unplanned outage, that lasted from August 14th through 19th.

Five years ago, we would have likely seen a real ramp-up in natural gas flaring," Kringstad said. "But in today's environment, we saw producers curtail production, and we'll see that reflected in the August numbers. It was not insigificant for that period of time."

The report shows 94 percent of the natural gas produced from the oil wells was captured.

Kringstad and Helms said they still expect oil production to go about 1.2 million barrels per day – but that will be delayed a bit.

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