“What a great way to end the year.” North Dakota spokesman after record oil and gas production in 2018.
While Oklahoma might have nearly twice as many oil and gas rigs as North Dakota on any given week, North Dakota just strengthened its hold as the nation’s second-largest oil-producing state after Texas.
North Dakota’s oil and gas production hit record highs in December as the state pumped out 1.4 million barrels of oil a day. It was an increase of 1.8 percent over November 2018. December was also the first month that the state’s oil production exceeded 1.4 million barrels.
“What a great way to end the year,” Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, said in a conference call with reporters Friday according to the Associated Press.
The state’s natural gas production also set a monthly record in December at 2.65 million MCF per day, up 5.1 percent over the previous month. (An MCF is 1,000 cubic feet of gas.)
Gas production increases should continue outstripping oil output gains this year, Helms said. “That will be our challenge through 2019, to bring on gas-gathering capacity that will keep up with production.”
With the oil and gas business booming throughout the country, the ability to capture all natural gas being produced is falling short in several regions, including North Dakota.
The result: Flaring has increased. Gas that is not captured by producers is burned, which is wasteful and damaging to the environment
North Dakota producers exceeded the state’s gas-flaring targets throughout the second half of 2018.
Currently, no more than 12 percent of natural gas production should be burned off, while 88 percent should be captured and processed.
In December, 19 percent was being flared, a slight improvement over November.
Gas-processing capacity in North Dakota isn’t expected to catch up with gas output until late 2019, according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.