Flaring rates decreased in August, although the state’s oil and gas industry continued to miss its gas capture targets in what was yet another record month for oil and gas production.
North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms reported new records set for August oil and gas production in North Dakota. Oil production topped 1.47 million barrels per day, while gas production hit 3 billion cubic feet. That’s just a little more than a 2 percent increase in production for both commodities.
Gas capture statewide hit 81 percent, which Helms said reflected improvements in every area of the state. The state’s target at this point, however, is 88 percent gas capture.
Helms said infrastructure investments are starting to make a difference in the numbers, while Pipeline Authority Justin Kringstad meanwhile said two large processing plants are coming online later this year that will continue the positive trend.
Helms estimated that the amount of self restriction to production — mostly on Fort Berthold — was about 33,000 barrels per day.
Rig counts meanwhile were down one from August to September, and down by another as of Thursday afternoon.
“If oil prices were higher, we’d see more robust activity,” Helms said. “So that is the one segment of the report that is not positive.”
Helms said world economic growth has slowed, and that means less energy use.
“Europe has slipped into neutral, maybe even into recession,” he said. “That’s largely due to this whole Brexit kerfuffle and what is happening and going to happen in Europe.”
In addition, Chinese manufacturing is substantially down, largely due to the ongoing trade war with the United States, Helms said.
There were also weather issues that shut roads down in McKenzie, Williams and Mountrail counties in September, which will affect production statistics for that month.
Despite all that, Helms believes more production records are likely to be broken before the year ends.
“September numbers could be flat or down a bit,” he said. “But we should see robust numbers in October and maybe going into November, so I think we will set more records going into next year.”
Meanwhile, the number of wells waiting on completion has decreased, Helms said, and he mentioned recent reports that Halliburton layoffs had not included Williston.
“A few jobs in Dickinson were lost to that, but there were no layoffs in Williston, which is where their big (hydraulic) fracturing fleet is located,” Helms said.
Although there were fewer drilled but uncompleted wells, the number of producing wells still dropped slightly from July’s record high 15,954 to 15,942 in August.
Permitting dropped from July as well, from 141 drilling and 2 seismic permits in July to 127 drilling and no seismic permits in August. For September, there were 92 drilling and two seismic permits.