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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota natural gas production hit another record in March even as oil production dropped, illustrating the need for more gas infrastructure, state officials said.

The state produced more than 2.1 billion cubic feet (60 million cubic meters) per day of natural gas, with companies flaring about 12 percent, according to the Mineral Resources Department. The state restricts flaring because it’s considered wasteful.

Oil production dropped about 1 percent in March to about 1.16 million barrels per day, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

With increased oil activity anticipated for the summer, crews are expected to be busy building infrastructure needed to keep up with the growing volumes of natural gas, said Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department.

“We’re going to see another surge of workers from out-of-state laying pipelines, and building compressor facilities and building gas plants,” Helms said.

Gas production is expected to exceed processing capacity starting this summer until projects under construction start to come online, said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

The state Public Service Commission granted approval Tuesday for energy company Oneok to proceed with the Demicks Lake natural gas processing plant, a McKenzie County facility that officials approved three years ago but halted when commodity prices dropped.

The Demicks Lake plant is permitted to process up to 400 million cubic feet (11 million cubic meters) per day. The plant is expected to be completed late next year. It’s one of five such plants under development in North Dakota.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,