Bloomberg – Oil production in North Dakota may have exceeded an all-time high last month as mild weather and lower-than-normal snowfall allowed drilling to increase. The number of wells started rose to 212 in January from 181 in December and 140 a year earlier, according to a preliminary estimate from Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota (BAKKNODA) Department of Mineral Resources.
The state’s output reached a record of 535,036 barrels a day in December as improved technology has made it profitable for producers to tap crude trapped in tight underground shale formations. The Bakken Shale, which extends south from Canada into North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, is the largest contiguous oil deposit in the continental U.S.
Temperatures in December and January were 12 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous year, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures this month through Feb. 26 ranged 4 to 10 degrees above normal. North Dakota has received 25 inches less snow than normal, he said.
Here is an analysis of the first 60-90 days of oil production for North Dakota Bakken wells The 30 extra wells in January probably means an extra 500 barrels per day for about 15000 barrels per day more for the month. This would put North Dakota production at about 550,000 barrels per day. The actual oil production numbers will be known in about ten days. This assumes that having the same number of oil well starts would offset and production decline.