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Oil production drops in January

Lynn Helms

North Dakota oil production fell to 1.1 million barrels a day in January.

It had been close to 1.3 million barrels in December.

The reason given: Cold weather.

"We had — I think it was — four consecutive days, maybe five, when the wind chills were below -70," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms, during his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "The equipment responded not well, as you might imagine. And the ability for human beings to go out and work on that equipment and keep wells producing and operating was strongly inhibited by the -70 wind chill."

But Helms said it appears production has fully recovered.

"We ought to be pressing that 1.3 million barrel a day number," Helms said.

And Helms said natural gas capture was still at 93 percent.

Bakken milestones

The Bakken is approaching a milestone of producing 5 billion barrels of oil.

But there was another milestone recently reached.

The MHA Nation has exceeded the billion barrel mark.

"When I started this job, in 1998, there had not been a well drilled on Ft. Berthold in 10 years," Helms said. And he said it remained that way until 2006, when the Parshall Discovery well was drilled.

Helms said since then, Ft. Berthold has produced over one billion barrels.

"That's really remarkable," Helms said. "It speaks to the difference in technology from where it was in the 1980s and 90s."

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