BISMARCK — North Dakota continues to set oil and gas records this year.
Figures released Thursday, Oct. 17, show producers pumped out nearly 1.48 million barrels of oil per day in August, the latest month for which data is available. That marks a new daily production record.
And, for the first time, natural gas production in the state topped 3 billion cubic feet per day.
“That is an enormous number,” State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said Thursday. “I think that is a really important record.”
Helms believes oil production would have exceeded 1.5 million barrels per day for the first time if more facilities had been in place to capture gas. Some companies have been curtailing their oil production amid a lack of pipelines and processing plants that handle the gas extracted at well sites.
Producers are still burning off a lot of excess gas, and flaring continues to sit well above the state’s 12% target. But at 19% in August, it was down from a record high of 24% in June.
More processing capacity came online in August, including an expansion of an Arrow Field Services plant and a new plant by Hess Midstream Partners and Targa Resources Corp., said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. Both facilities are in McKenzie County.
Several more processing facilities are planned for the Bakken, as is a natural gas liquids pipeline. They are expected to further curb flaring once operational.
“We’re starting to see those massive infrastructure investments make a difference,” Helms said.
A policy changes also is in the works to address gas capture. Helms said he plans to introduce a proposal before the state’s Industrial Commission next week aimed at accelerating the building of gas-related facilities.
Kringstad said he expects oil and gas production to continue climbing through the rest of the year, though he said the numbers released next month could be a “bit of a wildcard” due to rainy weather.
Excessive rains in September caused temporary road closures in the oil patch, slowing the ability of trucks to navigate the area.