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ND 30,000 barrels of oil per day away from reaching 1 million

By Luke Geiver | January 15, 2014

The record breaking streak for monthly oil production in North Dakota is still going. The N.D. Department of Mineral Resources released its monthly production numbers for November and the 973,045 barrels of oil produced per day netted an all-time high for the state. The state also surpassed 10,000 producing wells, another record. The Bakken and Three Forks shale formations accounted for 93 percent of the state’s oil production.

The Williston Basin, including North Dakota, South Dakota and eastern Montana has been producing more than 1 million barrels of oil per day since September. The eastern Montana portion of the Williston Basin produces roughly 75,000 barrels of oil per day and South Dakota accounts for roughly 5,000 bopd.

Shale gas production numbers are also following the record breaking trend in N.D. November production reached 1,086,571 million cubic feet per day.

At the end of November, there were over 500 wells awaiting completion services. According to Lynn Helms, DMR direction, cold weather affected hydraulic fracturing services in December. The rig count in the state has increased by 10 rigs from the October numbers of 183.

In the October 2013 Director’s Cut, the DMR believed that shallow gas production in the state was not economical, but do to a recent decrease in natural gas storage and the potential rise in natural gas prices, the DMR said that shallow gas exploration in the state may now be economical.

In a presentation delivered to the Government Finance Interim Committee, the DMR shared permit numbers for new wells. In 2014, there have been 1,552 new wells permitted and another 736 are pending approval. With a rig count of 185 to 195 drilling rigs, the DMR believes it will take 9 to 12 months to drill roughly 2,000 wells. Between 2015 and 2019, the DMR has already approved orders for another 5,247 wells.

In addition to the constant concern of investors regarding federal hydraulic fracturing rule additions, the DMR also said in its presentation to the Government Finance Interim Committee that limited access to move Bakken crude by rail or light-sweet refinery capacity max out could negatively impact Bakken production.