The extremely cold weather of the past few weeks means that the oil patch is moving a little slower than usual.
But freezing temperatures weren’t a factor in the latest oil production data released Friday, which represents November 2021 production. North Dakota produced 1.16 million barrels of oil a day that month , an increase of 4% compared to October. This is the largest increase in oil production the state has seen in more than a year, Lynn Helms, the state’s director of mineral resources, said during her monthly press briefing.
Twelve fracking crews operated in North Dakota in November, bringing 60 new wells online. Some had just been drilled and others had been idle for some time after being drilled.
However, extremely cold temperatures hit the state in late December and lasted until last week. Sub-freezing conditions have affected the rate at which natural gas can be produced and collected from oil fields. Oil companies do not want to waste gas unnecessarily at well sites, as this may prompt the state to restrict their activities. So they’re looking instead to reduce oil and gas production from wells where freezing is a problem, Helms said. That in turn could mean lower oil production numbers for December and early this year, he said.
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“It’s all about the cold weather,” Helms said.
It’s not unusual for the oil industry to see a downturn early in the year in the middle of winter, said Barrett Withers, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek LLC, an oil services provider on the reservation. Indian from Fort Berthold. He told reporters at the monthly oil briefing that his company was optimistic as more fracking crews and rigs are operating in the state, a sign of the industry’s continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. .
“We think 2022 will be a great year, similar to what we’ve seen in pre-pandemic levels,” he said.
His expectations for this year are a far cry from where the company ended up after the pandemic.
“We considered sending trucks all the way to Texas just to keep people working,” Withers said.
North Dakota’s daily gas production rose 2% to 3.042 billion cubic feet in November. The oil and gas industry captures 94% of all gas produced statewide and meets the 91% Bakken target set by regulators, although there remain a few problem spots in Fort Berthold where infrastructure Gas collection is inadequate, Helms said.
The state has identified 94 additional abandoned oil wells to continue the program it began in 2020 using federal virus assistance.
Helms said the Oil and Gas division is looking to complete reclamation work on 119 other well sites that have already been plugged. The state plans to seek more aid made available under the federal infrastructure bill enacted last year.
“Twenty-six states have filed notices of intent to participate in this program,” Helms said. “What we invented here in North Dakota will now expand to 26 oil and gas producing states nationwide.”
The plugging of wells helped keep oilfield companies such as Beaver Creek and Ham’s Well Service afloat, both of which had representatives speaking at Friday’s briefing.
“It kept up to 40 of my guys from working and avoiding unemployment,” said Shane Bryans of Ham’s. “It was very important to me as an employer because it kept my employees around.”
Contact Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8252 or [email protected]