By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 12/15/20 (Tue)
Some disturbing news came out of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources this month. The agency reported that as of Dec. 8, there were only 16 active oil rigs drilling in the state.
That’s down more than 80 percent from two years ago when there were 64 active rigs. On Dec. 8, 2019, it had dropped to 55.
You can blame COVID, you can blame OPEC, you can blame over production in the
Whatever it is, the number of drilling rigs has tanked when you consider that at the height of the boom in 2013, there were more than 200 active drilling rigs in
If you look specifically at
However, those jobs have dried up. They are gone. In fact, Whiting Petroleum announced this fall it has laid off 16 percent of its work force, which is about 100 people.
It has laid off a number of people, closed an administrative building in
We can probably expect to see population increases in the west tapering off now that support staff is no longer needed. That means, Williston, Tioga,
Communities like Kenmare, Beulah and Sidney are on the fringe of oil production and haven’t seen the drastic ebbs and floes in revenue, population, crime and new business.
But, it isn’t all gloom and doom. There are some interesting numbers that need to be presented here that indicate
In other words, those rigs that are pumping oil are continuing to produce just like
The state’s barrel-per-day output has tapered off, but still remains 1.2 million barrels. Our state remains a solid second place in the nation in oil production, behind only
According to the Department of Mineral Resources, 16 counties in the state are producing oil. They include
Two other counties, Adams and Hettinger, are on the list, but haven’t produced oil in several years.
Regardless, some of these county numbers are impressive, most notably McKenzie, Dunn, Mountrail and Williams counties.
When you consider barrels of oil produced per month,
The latest numbers available are from the end of July when
None of the other counties really come close to those four, but when you consider the others, they are producing a tremendous amount of crude oil in their own right.
Take for instance
The lowest number on that list is
These production statistics go all the way back to April 1951 when
In fact, it wasn’t until a year later, in April 1952, that
When the next boom occurred in 1983, production numbers were very similar to what they were in July of this year.
The activity of drilling has certainly diminished, but the barrels of oil produced hasn’t.
And just because the rig counts have dropped, it doesn’t mean production hasn’t. It means the state is still getting oil tax revenue, but