Oil production numbers continue to decline in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) It's the fourth consecutive month that oil production in North Dakota is down.

The decline started in December of 2017 when oil production hit 1,182 million barrels of oil per day. That slide is continuing and in March the state only produced 1,162 million barrels of oil per day.

While oil is declining, natural gas capture is on the rise.

Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says the winter weather has been challenging to the industry, affecting oil production in the state.

Oil production declined 13,000 barrels a day from February to March, and Helms says it's because of the weather.

"It wasn't as cold as February. We didn't have any weather where it wasn't absolutely too cold to hydraulically fracture wells, but we did have some windy days. I think we had nine days out of the thirty one that it was too windy for hydraulic fracturing operations," said Helms.

Other than the weather, Helms says he's excited for the future of oil production in the state and expects the rest of the year to be strong.

According to Justin Kringstad with the Pipeline Authority, transporting Bakken oil with rail is becoming more utilized than using pipelines.

Kringstad also says rail rates are competitive with pipeline networks, making it more attractive to transport barrels on rail then with pipe.

"If I take my barrel of Bakken oil, do I ship it on this pipeline network to received x price or do I put it on a rail network and get y price. Again, they're looking at what's the market doing and trying to make the decision that makes sense for their company," said Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad.

Kringstad says all pipelines are being used less, as more barrels move onto the rail network.

Helms says pipelines go one way, while rail tracks can go anywhere. He says that's why oil transportation on rail is becoming more used in the state.