BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The number of rigs actively exploring for or producing oil and gas in North Dakota fell by two compared with last week, state data show.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission reports 45 rigs in active service in the state, down two from one week ago and off 69 percent from one year ago. In 2012, when the shale boom was in full swing in the state, the rig count for this date was 203.
Lower crude oil prices, despite a late January rally, are leaving energy companies with less capital to invest in exploration and production, a trend reflected in rig count data. Oil field services company Baker Hughes, which provides weekly rig data for the industry, reports the average number of rigs deployed in North Dakota declined every week since at least late December.
North Dakota oil production for November, the last full month for which data are available, was relatively unchanged from the previous month at 1.17 million barrels per day, but about 4 percent below the all-time record set in December 2014.
Total gas production for North Dakota was 1.6 million cubic feet per day, a new all-time record.
The state government in mid-November reported 64 rigs in active service in the state. The all-time low point is zero and Monday's count ties the most recent low of 45 reported in August 2009.
The NDIC said operators working shale basins in North Dakota are committed to deploying few rigs across the state as low crude oil prices put negative pressure on the industry.
As of Jan. 15, the date of the last state report on production, there were no major weather events that would account for a drop in rig activity. Regional threats from inclement weather in the region have faded from the most recent forecasts.