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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published March 15 2013

Winter weather causes 4.2 percent drop in January oil production

BISMARCK – A winter storm and subzero temperatures contributed to a 4.2 percent drop in North Dakota’s oil production in January, the Department of Mineral Resources said Friday.

The state produced an average of 738,022 barrels per day in January, according to preliminary figures from the department, down from the record high of 770,111 barrels per day produced in December.

“That is a very significant drop in production,” said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

Helms said he anticipates that the state’s monthly oil production numbers will continue to go up and down through May. February was a strong month, but recent winter storms will likely mean a drop in March production, Helms said.

The month of May will bring spring road restrictions that in some counties may severely restrict truck transportation, Helms said.

Starting in June, North Dakota should again see consistent increases in monthly oil production, Helms said.

North Dakota also saw a production decline in November, in part due to winter weather.

The state’s budget revenue forecast is built around an average daily production of 830,000 barrels a day starting in July, hitting 850,000 barrels a day at the end of 2014 and holding steady through the end of the 2013-15 biennium.

Helms said he expects the production will meet those projections and will likely exceed them if the drilling rig count remains as high as it is now, which is 188.