April 24, 2013

County leads state in oil production

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

After January’s numbers reported a slight drop in production, the North Dakota Industrial Commission is reporting a new all-time production record for North Dakota oil production for the month of February.
“Oil production increased very sharply in February to nearly 779,000 barrels of oil per day, which is a new all-time high and a 40,000 barrel per day increase over January,” states Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission.
Based on production trends and predictions, however, that number is a little light according to Helms, who states that he expected February’s production number to pass 783,000 barrels per day.
“February was a short, cold month and we expect the weather to be an issue for production all the way through May,” states Helms.
According to Helms, the combination of two heavy snowstorms in March and one in April not only slowed production, but lengthened the amount of time that spring load restrictions are in force.
“We don’t expect road restrictions to be lifted until around Mother’s Day,” states Helms.
Though the new all-time high was light for the state, McKenzie County did not seem affected, coming in as the number one producer of natural gas and the second highest producer of oil for the months of January and February.
The Industrial Commission reports that in January McKenzie County produced 8,024,563 million cubic feet of natural gas and 5,587,463 barrels of oil per day. That is more than 2,500,000 million cubic feet over the second highest producer, Williams County, and roughly 500,000 barrels of oil less than the number one oil producer, Mountrail County.
In February, McKenzie County closed the gap on Mountrail County, producing 5,529,972 barrels of oil per day, which is just shy of Mountrail’s first place production number of 5,701,532 barrels. McKenzie County maintained its status as the highest natural gas producer in February as well, with 7,701,724 million cubic feet of natural gas.
Because the Industrial Commission predicts that weather will interfere with production until May, Helms does not expect to top the 800,000 barrel per day production rate until May or after.