15 July 2014, News Wires – Oil production in US’ North Dakota, home to the Bakken shale oil play, continued to climb in May, rising 35,000 barrels per day to 1.04 million bpd, according to data from state’s Department of Mineral Resources cited by Reuters.
The increase comes after the state reached the 1 million bpd milestone in April, the news wire said.
But new limits on flaring natural gas in North Dakota may force producers to curtail as much as 50,000 barrels per day of oil production beginning in October, according to the news wire.
Producers are unlikely to meet the 1 October deadline to reduce flaring without additional well site technology or production curtailment, department head Lynn Helms told a conference call.
As a result, they may have to cut 40,000 to 50,000 bpd of output, or about 4% to 5% of the state’s total.
Under rules approved at the start of this month, North Dakota drillers are required to capture at least 74% of the natural gas they produce by 1 October.
Meanwhile, drilling rig counts rose to 189 in May from 188 in April, data showed.
The number of well completions in May increased 14% to 227, but weather continued to impact activity after two days of heavy rain and five to six days of high winds later in the month delayed completion work.
By the end of May, there were some 610 wells waiting on completion services, an increase of 10.
Crude oil take away capacity is expected to remain adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing, the department said.
Drilling permit activity continued to increase as operators began their summer programs and have started planning location construction for next winter.
North Dakota leasing activity is also “very low,” the department said, consisting mostly of renewals and top leases in the Bakken and Three Forks region.