North Dakota Oil Output Defies Calls For A Decline

North Dakota Oil Output Defies Calls For A Decline
North Dakota's oil production once again defied expectations for a decline in November, even seeing a slight uptick for the second consecutive month.

Reuters

NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) - North Dakota's oil production once again defied expectations for a decline in November, even seeing a slight uptick for the second consecutive month, as unusually warm weather helped offset the deepening decline in fracking activity.

Production in the second-largest U.S. oil producing state rose by 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.18 million barrels, monthly data from the Department of Mineral Resources showed. Last month, it also rose 5,000 bpd.

Output in North Dakota's Bakken shale fields has generally outpaced expectations even as oil prices have plunged to about $30 a barrel this week from over $100 in mid-2014. Despite repeated forecasts for a decline, even from the U.S. government itself, output has remained surprisingly resilient.

Last October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast that Bakken output would slide by 23,000 bpd to 1.16 million bpd.

"Looking at the weather, we had relatively few days where there was too much wind and (there was) no precipitation in November. It was a very dry month, and it was not a cold month," Lynn Helms, director of the state's Department of Mineral Resources, told reporters on a conference call on Friday.

He added that the warmer weather probably contributed to the ease in bringing wells into production.

Well completions fell sharply, though, to 26 in November from 43 in October.

The state had 13,077 producing wells, about 113 lower than October, according to the data, which reports on a two-month lag. The rig count edged down by one to 64 in November and remained unchanged in December.

However, the current rig count is 49, the lowest since August 2009, data showed.

(Reporting By Catherine Ngai; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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