Natural gas production outpaced oil in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale during March, according to the state Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

North Dakota production

Gas production was 89.2 Bcf (2.8 Bcf/d), compared to 75.7 Bcf (2.7 Bcf/d) in February. Oil production totaled 34.3. million bbl (1.1 million b/d) from 30.3 million bbl (1.08 million b/d). 

The state also set a new high of 94% for gas capture, up 2% from February. 

“It’s a testimony to the $20 billion that has been invested to get gas flaring under control in the Bakken,” said DMR chief Lynn Helms last Friday. “We’re back in the cycle of rapidly increasing gas production, so in March production jumped by 174 MMcf/d, equivalent to the capacity of two gas processing plants essentially, or 6.4 %.”

The increased production was accomplished with six hydraulic fracturing crews operating in March. Crews have since increased to nine.

“We expect a nice gentle recovery in terms of oil and gas activity,” said Helms. Drilling rigs now total 18, up by three for the February/March levels.

The price of Bakken sweet crude oil topped off at $57/bbl on Friday after averaging $54.38/bbl in March and $55.35/bbl in April.

Regarding North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s challenge to make the state carbon neutral by 2030, Helms said he expects the industry to embrace it. He noted efforts to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS), as there may be 250 tons of CCS capacity available in North Dakota. 

“Basically, our geology could allow us to take all U.S. energy carbon production for 50 years,” he said. “The governor expects CCS to be a growing industry within the state.”