Saturday, August 12, 2017

More wells being drilled, but oil production held back by labor shortage

Lack of hydraulic fracturing crews was among factors contributing to a 1 percent drop in North Dakota’s latest oil production numbers. Oil dropped from 1.04 million barrels a day in May to 1.032 million barrels a day in June, according to a monthly production report from North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. Hydraulic fracturing has been unable to keep up with the state’s 50 drilling rigs in terms of uncompleted wells, and that inventory has been growing. Thirty-five new wells were added to the total in June, bringing that to 865. Helms said the state now has 22 hydraulic fracturing crews, but needs 25 to keep up with what the drilling rigs are doing. “That will be an ongoing problem into the fall,” he said. “It is a real struggle. They are trying to hire, but not getting the experienced, qualified people they want.” Companies who see a lot of green hats in a crew are concerned about safety as well as the speeds the crew can work at, Helms added...more

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