Road Restrictions Delay Oil Production - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Road Restrictions Delay Oil Production

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Late snow storms into April, combined with a prolonged wet spring is creating some major hurdles for the oil industry.

"I can't remember any time when I was working in the oil industry or in this job in North Dakota, when we still had road restrictions until Father's Day. Almost always those are gone around Mother's Day. So it's very very unusual," says Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms.

Even with those load restrictions, oil production still reached an all time high of 793,000 barrels per day in April.

Natural gas production also hit a high in April.  Companies were able to connect 185 new oil wells. But 29 percent of the natural gas produced in the state is still flared.

"Gathering systems that were built a few years ago, we are finding out they're too small. And so compression is going to have to be added, pipes are going to have to be expanded, and so a lot of the work that went into the ground over the last few years, some of it has to he repeated," says Helms.

Another shakeup for the industry is the price of oil.  Oil companies used to make more money by putting their oil on a rail car and sending it to the coast, but those oil prices have now dropped.

"That is going to have an impact going forward. We may start to see barrels come off of the rail transportation side and move toward the pipeline systems," says Justin Kringstad, Pipeline Authority.

As the wet conditions persist, the companies are crossing their fingers for dry conditions so they can catch up with the 490 wells waiting to be fracked.

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