North Dakota Oil Production Expected To Remain Near Record High Despite Low Prices

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The all-time record high for monthly oil production in North Dakota was 1,227,483 barrels per day, according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources. That record was set in December of 2014.

Since December the bottom has fallen out of oil prices, and the number of drilling rigs operating in the state has fallen off a cliff. Yet, despite that, the oil continues to flow. The most recent monthly production numbers released by the DMR yesterday, which covers the month of August, was 1,186,444 barrels per day. That’s down just 1.7 percent from the previous month, July, and just 3.34 percent from the record set in December.

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“Oil price weakness now anticipated to last well into next year is the main reason for the continued slow-down,” the DMR reports, but really it’s not much of a slowdown as far as actual oil production is concerned. Nor is oil production expected to fall off all that much even as low prices persist.

“North Dakota’s state budget is based on a production rate of about 1.1 million barrels per day,” reports Amy Dalrymple for the Grand Forks Herald. “[DMR Director Lynn] Helms said he anticipates a continued decline in production, climbing down to 1.1 million barrels per day by the end of the 2015-17 biennium.”

If oil production does that far, it would be a less than 11 percent decline in production from that all-time record in December.

That’s quite the feat given that the per-barrel price of sweet crude has, through August, fallen 78 percent from its peak in September 2008, and that the rig count has fallen 62 percent since December.