Producers are already restarting oil wells in North Dakota as prices come off record lows, but talk of a recovery is premature, said the state’s energy regulator. The historic price rout has in recent weeks curbed output in the second-biggest producing state by a third to below 1 million barrels a day, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. More than 7,000 wells have been shut. Now, with prices hovering close to $30 a barrel, field inspectors are reporting that some production is returning.
The drilling collapse in North Dakota can be seen in the rig count which has slumped to 12 from as high as 54 in February. And four or five more rigs could be shut before the slowdown plays out, said Helms. That’s the least since before the Bakken play started up in 2006. The number of frack crews has dwindled to just one from 25 before the crash.
Production in March, the latest month for which the state has complete data, slipped 1.6% to 1.429 million barrels a day.