When North Dakota oil production broke above 1 million b/d for the first time in April 2014, many expected that the 2 million b/d threshold would be breached in relatively short order. With WTI spot prices averaging over $100/b in the months that followed, some even speculated that 2 million b/d may be too modest of a goal for a state in the throes of a shale oil renaissance. But prices, and those expectations, have come crashing down. Now, rather than striving for 2 million b/d, state officials are hoping to maintain production above 1 million b/d. And there are indications that a significant drop in Bakken supply may already be underway. In November, less than 1.18 million b/d was produced, the state’s Department of Mineral Resources reported last week. Since December 2014, when North Dakota set an all-time production record of nearly 1.23 million b/d, statewide oil production has averaged just below 1.19 million b/d and has risen for two months in a row despite stagnant demand and plunging prices. While Lynn Helms, the state’s top oil regulator, called recent production numbers “quite a surprise” amidst market shifts largely unsupportive of domestic production, he indicated the relative success would
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Source: CTRM Center