Friday, September 26, 2014

New Poll: Will New Flaring Rules Affect North Dakota Crude Oil Production

We will close out this poll quickly (for obvious reasons) in which we asked whom you would prefer to have dinner with:
  • Mason Inman: 4%
  • Warren Buffett: 30%
  • Harold Hamm: 66%
Speaks volumes. The only real choice was between Warren Buffett and Harold Hamm, of course. The former would have chuckled a lot and talked in platitudes and generalities; Harold Hamm would have kept on topic. For me, the choice was easy, very, very easy.

Be that as it may.

Time for a new poll.

There are several ways the question could be asked and several different polls that could be taken but I think I will keep it as simple as possible.

The question has to do with daily crude oil production in the Bakken.

I believe North Dakota crude oil production first hit the 1 million bopd back in April, 2014, and every month since then the month-over-month crude oil production has increased (there could have been an exception, I forget) and has remained over 1 million bopd since then.

Lynn Helms (Director, NDIC) warns that daily production could take a dip once the new flaring rules take effect. The new rules take effect October 1, 2014, but there are suggestions that the operators have cut back significantly in the past few months as they get ready for the new rules. Two data points jump out at me:

One data point: the number of wells waiting to be fracked have jumped significantly over the past three months.

Second data point: the number of active rigs have fallen precipitously this past week (from 200 last week to 190 today):

Active Rigs190184187191141

A reader tells me that this precipitous drop is due mostly to timing of surface rigs -- those smaller rigs that spud the well and drill down about 2,000 feet. The reader says that most of these rigs spud on Sunday and then gradually become inactive later in the week. We'll get a chance to see when the active rig numbers are posted in a couple of days.

One also wonders if some rigs are being moved to Montana. It's my understanding that Montana has not imposed new flaring restrictions.

So, with all of that as preamble, the poll:

Will we see a decline in daily crude oil production in North Dakota month-over-month before the end of November, 2014? Remember: the NDIC reports lag by about six weeks, so we won't see the November, 2014, data until January 15th, or thereabouts.

Speaking of Polls



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