May Oil Production "Flat as a Pancake"
Friday, July 23, 2021

North Dakota oil production barely crept upwards in May, but it wasn't because the state's oil producers weren't trying to pump more crude from the ground.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said he was expecting to see a larger increase as spring arrived, but the industry is struggling to find employees for frac crews to bring new wells into production.

Click here to listen to Helms' comments.

Production inched upward to an average of 1,127,517 barrels per day in May, just 4,000 bbl/day higher than the April figure. In his monthly director's cut news conference, Helms said fracking companies are trying to hire workers to boost production, but aren't finding many applicants.

Click here to listen to Helms' comments.

Helms said it appears most of the frac workers laid off during the pandemic have found new jobs in Texas or New Mexico. He said North Dakota companies will have to offer more enticements to attract workers to the state.

Click here to listen to Helms' comments.

The May Director's Cut shows the frac crews that are working have reduced the number of DUC wells (drilled but uncompleted) from 731 down to 677. There are currently 23 drilling rigs operating in the state.

Natural gas production was up one percent in May, averaging just under three billion cubic feet per day. Producers were able to capture and process 92 percent of the gas, down slightly from the 94 percent capture rate achieved in April.

Click here to see the article in the WDEA Weekly Newsletter