AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
Anyone who follows what is happening when it comes to the state’s oil and gas production realizes quickly one common trend. And that is what happens in McKenzie County in the way of production equates to what is happening in North Dakota. When McKenzie County has a good month of production, so does the state. And when any number of conditions, such as heavy rains or snows that impact roads or cold temperatures that limit the fracing of wells, oil and gas production drops significantly in the county with the state’s numbers falling.
December’s oil and gas production numbers, which were released last Friday by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, clearly point out the significance that McKenzie County plays when it comes to the state’s total oil and gas production as both the county and North Dakota set new all-time records.
While North Dakota’s wells pumped out a record 43,442,924 barrels of oil and 82,150,203 mcf of natural gas in December, a close look at those record numbers shows how much the county’s wells are a part of that growth. During the past month, the 4,383 active wells in the county accounted for 17,468,637 barrels of oil or roughly 40 percent of the state’s total production. And when it came to natural gas production, county wells pumped out 41,457,283 mcf of natural gas or roughly 50 percent of the state’s total.
No other single oil-producing county in the state even comes close to McKenzie County’s production levels. During December, Dunn County, the second largest oil-producing county in the state, saw its oil production increase to 9,529,988 barrels, while Williams County, the state’s second largest natural gas producing county, produced 15,341,246 mcf of natural gas.
December was indeed a great month for North Dakota’s oil and gas industry as oil production saw a 2.1 million barrel increase and natural gas production increased by 6,516,355 mcf. But again, if one looks closely at the statewide production numbers, it shows that McKenzie County accounted for 60 percent of the state’s oil increase and 64 percent of the state’s natural gas increase.
Those are some pretty impressive statistics to think about. And it helps to explain why the oil and gas industry continues to invest billions of dollars into drilling new wells in the county, and building more and more natural gas gathering lines and processing plants in McKenzie County.
Industry invests its money where it has the ability to make money. And in North Dakota, the industry’s ability to continually drill highly productive oil and natural gas wells remains centered in McKenzie County.
And that is great news for McKenzie County today and well into the future as McKenzie County wells continue to rock the Bakken.