North Dakota’s oil production for November 2021 jumped 4.4 percent — an increase that hasn’t been seen in more than a year.

That’s according to Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms who shared the latest information from the state’s monthly update on oil output.

In November, North Dakota produced 1,159,778 barrels a day compared to 1,110,910 in October.

Natural gas production also increased 2.4 percent.

There were 60 wells completed in November, bringing the state to a record number of producing wells at 17,238.

Helms says, however, don’t expect oil price relief soon.

He says the U.S. oil supply is well below its five-year average, and the inventory built up over the pandemic is low, not just in the U.S. but globally.

“We’re going to be running a very tight network between supply and demand forecast projecting out to 2023. What that probably means is higher oil prices,” Helms said.

The Mineral Resources Department also gave an update on its use of CARES Act money.

The department received $66 million from the federal pandemic relief act, and $6 million from the state legislature to employ laid off oil workers to plug abandoned wells.

Helms says the money supported more than 3,300 and resulted in 316 wells plugged and reclaimed.

The service companies who contracted the employees said the program kept North Dakotans working.

“Behind each one of those workers, there’s a family. There’s a spouse, there’s children, there’s extended family that are all benefiting from this,” Neset Consulting Service President Kathy Neset said.

The state is still well behind New Mexico in the number of rigs, with New Mexico at 95 compared to North Dakota’s 32.

Helms attributes that in part to winter weather that makes construction difficult, while New Mexico doesn’t have many of the same cold-weather concerns.