MTN News: BILLINGS –
As the final week of 2016 approaches, the latest production figures from the Bakken oil fields show reason for optimism in the new year.
After an extended slump in the oil patch, several key indicators now indicate a gradual upswing in the Bakken.
For the first time in three months, North Dakota oil production in October surged past the million / barrel a day mark.
The state’s Department of Mineral Resources reports October crude oil production at 1,043,207 barrels/day.
The good news doesn’t stop there, with an upswing in oil prices and rig counts
Since OPEC announced a deal last month to cut production, the price for Bakken Sweet Crude has experienced a steady increase.
On Wednesday, the West Texas Intermediate price finished the day at $52.49/ barrel.
Bakken Sweet Crude finished Wednesday at $40.25/ barrel, still,not where producers would like, but $6 dollars better than the November average.
The count of active oil rigs in the Bakken, also reason for optimism.
Wednesday’s rig count was 42, one of the higher counts for 2016.
One year ago on this day, North Dakota’s rig count stood at 65. By comparison, two years ago there were 182 active rigs working in the Bakken.
North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms reports that many operators are shifting from running just the minimum number of rigs, to incremental increases, which could be the trend in 2017.
As always, the key is price. According to Helms, as long as oil prices remain between $50/ and $60 barrel, the number of active rigs will likely increase.