Flaring decreases to 26%

The State of North Dakota has chalked up another record. July production numbers are in—the state produced 1,110,642 barrels of oil per day in July. The numbers broke down as follows:

  • Bakken/Three Forks Shale:  1,047,034 BOPD (94%), conventional oil: 63,608 BOPD (6%).
  • Seventy percent of July production was from 7,862 unconventional Bakken/Three forks wells, and 30% came from 3,425 legacy conventional wells.

Also setting a record was North Dakota’s July gas production figure at 1,291,467 MCF/day.

The state reported that North Dakota drillers continue to outpace completion crews. The number of well completions increased to 197 in July from 188 in June. At the end of July there were about 630 wells waiting on completion services.

Crude oil take away capacity is expected to remain adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing, the report said. Rig count in the Williston Basin is gradually increasing. Today’s rig count is 198 (all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012). bak1 According to the state’s report, utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet remains above 90%, and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) about 60%. Drilling permit activity continued to increase as operators got into their summer programs while planning and constructing locations for next winter—drilling permits issued: June 247, July 265, August 273. The state’s all-time high was 370 in October of 2012.

Activity on the Fort Berthold Reservation:

  • 25 drilling rigs (10 on fee lands and 15 on trust lands)
  • 333,119 barrels of oil per day (134,433 from trust lands & 198,687 from fee lands)
  • 1,277 active wells (930 on trust lands & 347 on fee lands)
  • 143 wells waiting on completion
  • 329 approved drilling permits (260 on trust lands & 69 on fee lands)
  • 2,092 additional potential future wells (1,338 on trust lands & 754 on fee lands)

The percentage of gas flared dropped to 26% even though the new Tioga gas plant remained below full capacity due to delayed expansion of gas gathering from south of Lake Sakakawea. The July capture percentage was 74% which reduced the daily volume of gas flared from June to July 18.6 MMCFD. The historical high flared percent was 36% in 09/2011.

Regulation Activity

The North Dakota Industrial Commission reported that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has started the process of new venting and flaring regulations with input sessions in Denver, Albuquerque, Dickinson, and Washington, DC. The EPA has published an advanced notice of proposed rule-making to seek comment on the information that should be reported or disclosed for hydraulic fracturing chemical substances and mixtures and the mechanism for obtaining this information. The proposed rule-making is in response to a petition from Earthjustice and 114 other groups who are opposed to the use of the GWPC-IOGCC FracFocus website process of chemical disclosure and any type of trade secret protection for hydraulic fracturing fluid mixtures. These groups are requesting EPA regulation of chemical disclosure under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

By the way, North Dakota is out-producing three OPEC countries with its July oil production and is closing in on Algeria (1.4 MMBOPD).

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