North Dakota's oil production dropped a record 30 percent in May
Friday, July 17, 2020

May was not a merry month for the oil and gas industry in North Dakota, with production dropping by record amounts for a second month in a row. 

North Dakota oil production fell 30 percent month over month to 850,000 barrels per day in May, setting a back-to-back record with April, when production fell a record 15 percent to 1.2 million barrels per day.

That's the lowest production has been since 2013.

Natural gas production, meanwhile, dropped a record 23 percent to 1.9 billion cubic feet per day. That followed on April's record 14 to 15 percent decline to 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.

"Every operator was shutting in everything," North Dakota Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said. "We just saw a tremendous decline."

The inactive well count has hit 6,100 - the highest ever - triple what it was in April.

Curtailment, however, is higher than even that number reflects.

According to figures from North Dakota Pipeline Authority Justin Kringstad, the number of wells shutting in at least 75 percent of production is 6,700. These wells are spread across the Bakken map. They are not in particular areas, they don't reflect particular well types, and they are not limited to any particular operators. 

Helms said the bottom has probably already been reached, and predicted better numbers when July production is reported two months from now.

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