Crude oil production from North Dakota’s Bakken slowed slightly in November while natural gas output was on the increase. Production could be slower as winter sets in for the Oklahoma producers such as Oklahoma’s Continental Resources Inc. and others who have seen huge success in the state.
The Star-Tribune reported production from the country’s second-largest oil-producing state pumped out 1.52 million barrels of oil a day in November 2019. That’s a decline of 0.2% from October 2019.
“It was pretty much ‘steady as she goes,’ ” Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, said in a webcast with reporters.
With winter setting in, Helms said he doesn’t see significant oil and gas production changes ahead. “I’m really expecting these numbers to stay flat the next two or three months.”
North Dakota produced 3.13 million MCF per day of natural gas in November, up 2% from a record October. (An MCF is 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas.)
Also, North Dakota’s natural gas “capture” rate improved a bit in November, though it’s still below the state’s goals. Oil and gas operators captured 83% of gas production, up from 82% in October. The remainder was burned off in an economically wasteful and carbon-emitting practice called flaring.
North Dakota operators are supposed to be capturing 88% of their gas production and flaring only 12%. Helms said gas capture will improve with the December completion of a new gas pipeline and should continue getting better as new gas processing capacity comes online this year.
On the negative side, gas and petroleum production this spring could be hurt by extended road restrictions in North Dakota’s oil patch.
A wet fall combined with an early cold snap has produced a “very deep frost,” Helms said. “Roads will be soft going into spring.”
Heavy-equipment restrictions on county and township roads that normally end around Mother’s Day may not expire until Father’s Day, Helms said.