Winter storm cuts N. Dakota oil production

Jan. 14, 2013 at 8:51 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The North Dakota government said there was a decline in oil drilling in the state late last year because of an intense winter storm in November.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources said there was a small decline in conventional drilling operations in the state and a "very large decline" in hydraulic fracturing. Oil production for November was reported at 733,078 barrels per day, a 2.2 percent decline from October.

"More operators are transitioning to higher efficiency rigs and implementing cost cutting measures at the end of their 2012 capital budgets, but the primary reason was winter storm Brutus," said Lynn Helms, the department's director, in a statement.

A recorded 8 inches of snowfall in the state on Nov. 10 was the heaviest for that calendar day since 1901, The Weather Channel reported.

Helms said, however, that the number of producing wells recorded for November was 8,101, a new high for the state.

North Dakota is in the midst of an oil boom in part because of the new technologies used to get oil and natural gas out of shale formations. The state department said more than 95 percent of the drilling targets the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

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