North Dakota sees declines in oil and gas production

State's Department of Mineral Resources reports a decrease in oil and gas production, as well as a decline in drilling permits and active rigs. Industry projected to recover in the coming years.

Oil derricks in McKenzie, N.D.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Oil and gas production in North Dakota has dropped in recent months, according to the latest report from the state's Department of Mineral Resources. The report also shows that fewer drilling permits have been issued, and the number of active drilling rigs is low.

In November, oil production dropped to 32,931,469 barrels, which is 2.1% less than the previous month. Despite this decline, 96% of the state's oil still comes from the Bakken and Three Forks formations, with the remaining 4% coming from legacy pools.

Gas production and capture also saw a decline in November, with 90,870,989 MCF produced, which is a 4% decrease from the previous month. However, capture rates remained high at 95%.

The number of wells permitted for drilling also decreased in November, with only 86 permits issued, compared to the all-time high of 370 in October 2012. The number of active drilling rigs also remained low, with a total of 40 in November and 44 in December. The all-time high for rig count was 218 in May 2012.

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is located in the northwestern part of North Dakota. It is home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. The reservation covers over 1.4 million acres and includes parts of the Bakken and Three Forks oil-producing regions. The reservation saw a decline in activity, with a total of 5 drilling rigs and 2,638 active wells. However, there were 235 approved drilling permits, with the potential for 3,914 future wells.


Despite the decline in production and activity, the report states that the oil and gas industry in North Dakota is expected to see a gradual increase in activity over the next two years. This could be due to various factors such as OPEC production management and potential fluctuations in the economy.

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