Additional comments on drop in oil production in May 2020.

Photo by James Ulvog.

Comments in the Bismarck Tribune and Williston Herald provide context on the drastic drop in oil production during May.

The Tribune was more dramatic in describing the drop.

Oil production in North Dakota “cratered” during the month, as described by the Bismarck Tribune on 7/17:  North Dakota shatters previous record oil drop as pandemic hits industry hard.

Notice the “shatters” description in the headline.

Impact of pandemic was to “tank” the production.

Director Helms referred to the drop as a “five alarm fire” for the industry.

Those are all good descriptions of a drop from 1.5M bopd to 0.86M bopd, a decline of 0.66M bopd.

Two-thirds of a million barrels less.

Per day.

Article calls attention to the dramatic increase up to 6,100 wells that are inactive.

Mr. Helms estimates there are around 2,500 wells pumping one hour a day or one day a week. That keeps the mechanical equipment working. Completely idle equipment tends to break, based on previous articles I’ve read.

Article says that means there are about half the wells in the state that have basically stopped pumping.

That is consistent with my observations while in the state back in early June. Seemed like only a few of the wells in and around Williston were pumping. Most were idle.

Separately, the Williston Herald reported North Dakota’s oil production dropped a record 30 percent in May.

Article sites another state official as saying that 6,700 wells have cut output by 75% or more. The reductions are across the state and across producers.

I can see 10  oil pads along that road. Photo by James Ulvog.

Director Helms is cited as estimating the bottom of production has been reached. It is possible July production will hit 1 million barrels a day.

There are 11 rigs operating in the state and 1 completion crew. One driller had two more completion crews ready to go but put them on hold when the federal courts started playing games with the DAPL permitting.

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