Oil companies operating in North Dakota are keeping the brakes on this spring, but a “big surge in production” is expected this summer and fall, the director of the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday.
Lynn Helms said he expects the drilling rig count will increase from today’s count of 186 to 198 this summer, bringing as many as 2,000 more workers to Oil Patch communities.
Helms said he expects winter weather and spring road restrictions will continue affecting oil production for a few more months.
“It is going to be May, maybe even June, before production seriously gets underway,” Helms said.
Oil production rose 5.6 percent in February to 778,971 barrels per day, according to preliminary figures Helms released Tuesday.
The figure represents a new all-time high for North Dakota, but Helms said the increase was more modest than what he had projected.