Bakken Breaks Oil Production Record - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bakken Breaks Oil Production Record

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In nine months, oil production in the Bakken rose by 100,000 barrels per day. But it could hit another milestone a lot sooner because of the way drilling and fracking is going in North Dakota.

May was another record breaking month for the Bakken oil play as oil production hit an all time high of 810,000 barrels per day.

"It is exciting to break the 800,000 barrel a day barrier," said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.

Helms says drilling rigs are doing an outstanding job of drilling quickly. But the list continues growing to 500 wells waiting to be fracked. And once they are fracked and completed, Helms anticipates more and more oil will start flowing in June, July and August. But that means bad news for rig workers.

"I do not think companies are going to be stepping out and spending a lot of money to add drilling rigs, when they have got a big inventory of wells waiting on fracks. So that may come a little later in the year than what we originally anticipated just because of the cold April and the wet May," said Helms.

Another development the department did not anticipate was the falling coastal oil prices. Typically companies could make more money shipping Bakken oil on rail cars to coastal refineries instead of putting it in pipelines. But because the prices started falling, more oil is now shipping out on pipelines in May compared to April.

"There is some additional incentive to continue to move it by rail. But as that spread narrows, the incentive becomes less and folks again reassess what options they have and take a look at other opportunities," said Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad.

Natural gas production also hit an all time high in May of 899,000 cubic feet per day.

Helms expects more workers to be flocking to the oil patch this summer because companies are trying to play catchup on frack jobs.

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