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N.D. oil production drops 1 percent in March

WILLISTON, N.D. - North Dakota oil production fell about 1 percent in March to an average of 1.1 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday.

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Oil rigs sit stacked in an industrial yard north of Dickinson, N.D., on Saturday, April 30, 2016. (Dustin Monke / Forum News Service)

WILLISTON, N.D. - North Dakota oil production fell about 1 percent in March to an average of 1.1 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday.

Average daily oil production dropped nearly 10,000 barrels since February due to the ongoing slowdown in the industry caused by low oil prices.

Natural gas flaring dropped to 9.7 percent in March, the first time since December 2007 that percentage has been below 10 percent.

Natural gas production increased in March by 1.2 percent to a new all-time high of 1.7 billion cubic feet per day.

The preliminary oil production numbers released Thursday did not show as large of a production decline as Director Lynn Helms had predicted last week while speaking to an industry group in Williston.

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The number of wells that have been drilled but are waiting on hydraulic fracturing crews was 920 at the end of March, an increase of 13 from the previous month.

The estimated number of inactive wells is 1,523, an increase of 84 since February.

North Dakota had 27 drilling rigs active Thursday, the lowest since July 2005.

Helms anticipates the slowdown to last until at least the third quarter of 2016 and possibly into the second quarter of 2017.

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