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ND winter leads to record single-month oil production drop

BISMARCK, N.D. — Snowy, frigid weather hampered oil and gas producers in North Dakota in December, leading to the state's largest production decline in a single month.

A report from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources showed December's production fell to 942,455 barrels per day from November's 1,034,484 barrels per day. The difference, more than 92,000 daily barrels, made history and officials say almost all can be blamed on the weather.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said three blizzards, 15 days of winds higher than 35 mph and nine days of temperature below minus-10 degrees made oil and gas production nearly impossible for much of the month.

North Dakota's previous record for a single-month oil production drop was in April 2016, when production fell 69,692 daily barrels from the previous month to 1,042,024 barrels per day, The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2kLwIo7 ) reported.

Well completions dropped in December to 81 after 84 in November, but Helms said the number of completions were surprising after a month of harsh weather.

Natural gas production also plummeted from a state record of 1.76 billion cubic feet per day in November to 1.54 billion in December.

The subzero temperatures froze natural gas pipelines. Officials said in some areas the pipeline diameter was cut almost in half and forced increased flaring but there wasn't any reported damage to the infrastructure.

Helm said effects of the production loss will linger into the second quarter of this year.

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Online:

http://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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