Posted 8/21/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
As North Dakota continues to set new all-time oil and gas production numbers, McKenzie County remains the driving force in the increased numbers.
According to the latest figures from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, during the month of June, the state set a new all-state record in oil production with 24,642,447 barrels of oil or 821,415 barrels a day coming out of the ground. Natural gas production also hit a new all-time high with 27,929,028 million cubic feet (MCF) of gas or 930,968 million MCF being produced daily.
In the month of June, McKenzie County led the state in both oil and natural gas production with the county pumping 6,772,634 barrels of oil and 10,220,792 MCF of gas from 1,884 wells. During June, the 1,884 wells producing in McKenzie County were responsible for over 27 percent of the state’s oil production and 37 percent of the state’s natural gas production.
“The drilling rig count remained the same in the state from May to June,” stated Lynn Helms, North Dakota Department of Minerals director. “But the number of well completions fell by four to 139.”
The number of rigs operating in the basin has remained steady at 187, which is below the all-time high of 218, which was set on June 29, 2012.
“Drilling rigs continue and completion crews were close to even for the month of June,” stated Helms. “The average number of days to drill a well from spud to total depth remained steady at about 22 and the average number of days from total depth to initial production remained stable at 94.”
According to Helms, the increase in the state’s daily production was less than anticipated because of the load restrictions that were in place in much of western North Dakota because of heavy rains. In addition, the uncertainty surrounding federal policies on taxation and hydraulic fracturing regulations continue to make investors nervous.
Helms estimated at the end of June there were 490 wells waiting on completion, a decrease of 10.
And with summer drawing to a close, Helms anticipates seeing an increase in drilling permit activity.
“While drilling permit activity was up slightly in June, we are now seeing more of an increase as operators begin planning for winter,” states Helm. “There is sufficient permit inventory to accommodate multi-well pads and the time required to deal with federal hydraulic fracturing rules if necessary.”
According to Helms, more than 95 percent of the state’s drilling activity still is targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations.