The Department of Mineral Resources held its monthly Directors Cut Friday evening and reported that production numbers have been sluggish due to a workforce crisis.
One company has a dozen available rigs in North Dakota but it’s taking them months to hire and train crews to operate them.
The department is trying to address the Bakken’s workforce shortage through career and technical training, but that will take some time.
When it comes to fracking crews, there have not been any frack fleets constructed since before the pandemic, so the rigs that are out in the field are starting to show wear and tear, and at some point, the state is going to need to pursue capital to build new rigs.
In addition, the April blizzards added insult to injury, by taking out electricity and closing off access roads.
Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said production is about 90% back to normal, producing a million barrels per day.
“One operator reported that the first blizzard took them from 75-thousand barrels a day to 15. They were back to 65 and then the second blizzard took them down to 5. And, so there still not back to quite 75, so there is about 10 percent of the wells that are still off,” Helms said.
Helms noted that in 2019 there were 25 frack crews and 55 drilling rigs, compared to the mere 10 rigs at the start of this year. They have added five rigs since January.