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North Dakota expects to hit oil production record in 2018

January 16, 2018 GMT

North Dakotas oil production rose nicely again in November and with petroleum prices rising, monthly output should set records in 2018, the states top oil and gas official said Tuesday.

Were pretty optimistic, said Lynn Helms, director of North Dakotas Department of Mineral Resources. Everything points to more (oil) rigs, more frack crews and more activity in North Dakota.

North Dakota, the nations second-largest oil-producing state, pumped out 1.19 million barrels per day in November, up 1 percent from October and the highest monthly output since July 2015. The states all-time production high was 1.23 million barrels per day in December 2014.

We are closing in on that 1.2 million (barrel per day) number, which is a pretty important number, Helms said. Sometime in the first half of this year we should break the record.

Oil prices are near a three-year high, with the U.S. benchmark price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) around $64 per barrel.

The current drilling rig count in North Dakota has risen back to its October level of 56, after falling a bit in November and December.

North Dakotas natural gas production rose 1.4 percent in November from October, hitting a record high of 2.1 million MCF per day. An MCF is a thousand cubic feet of gas.

Mike Hughlett 612-673-7003