The energy industry in North Dakota broke virtually all the records in September, according to the most recent statistics from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).
Oil production rose about 5%, by 66,000 b/d, while natural gas production was up about 3.6% or 89 MMcf/d.
"This is the first time in about three years that oil has increased more rapidly than gas," DMR Director Lynn Helms said. "We're starting to see oil and gas production synchronize more."
September oil production was 40.7 million bbl (1.36 million b/d) versus 40 million bbl (1.29 million b/d) in August, setting an all-time high. Gas production also set a new record at 75.9 Bcf (2.53 Bcf/d) in September, compared to 75.7 Bcf (2.44 Bcf/d) in August.
The number of producing wells in September also set an all-time mark at 15,287, with 13,262 wells in the Bakken Shale/Three Forks formation.
In the near term, production should moderate as winter sets in and "we see the effect of lower oil prices," Helms said. Bakken sweet crude was recently fetching $38.75/bbl. The rig count, he said, “has dropped five since October, and I think we'll continue to see it decrease as oil prices decline.”
U.S. oil production topped 10 million b/d recently, Helms noted, and it is forecast to crack the 12 million b/d mark next year. "All this means we are going to have slowed growth for the next few months.”
Director Justin Kringstad of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority said overall oil output from the Williston Basin, which includes Montana and North and South Dakota, is about 1.41 million b/d, with takeaway capacity of 1.42 million b/d.
More pipeline capacity is coming, Kringstad said. He noted that earlier this month Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline LLC launched an open season for the Liberty project, which could be in service by late 2020, moving up to 350,000 b/d to Corpus Christi, TX.