Blackouts Cause North Dakota Oil And Gas Production To Fall

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The winter storms that paralyzed Texas and other south-central states and resulted in rolling power blackouts elsewhere caused North Dakota's oil and gas production to fall more than expected in February.

The blackouts temporarily shut down production in North Dakota, the nation’s second-largest oil-producing state.

The state produced about one million barrels of crude per day in February, down nearly 6% from the previous month, according to state data released Thursday. Natural gas production fell 5% from January.

“All in all, it was not a great month, not terrible, but not good,” said Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Department.

The storms caused rolling blackouts within the Southwest Power Pool, a regional grid extending north from the Texas Panhandle to North Dakota, the Star Tribune reported.

The Western Area Power Administration, which is part of the Southwest Power Pool, instituted blackouts for two days that affected three North Dakota oil counties. Some producers were left without electricity for their operations.

Helms said he had been expecting a 2% to 3% decline in oil production in February before the blackouts.

“It doubled what we had anticipated in terms of production decline,” he said.

There have been some good signs since then in North Dakota, Helms said.

The drilling-rig count, an indicator of new production, currently stands at 17, up from 15 in February and 12 in January.