Oil production is being driven by the November election

Oil rig
Oil rig(KFYR-TV)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 9:38 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The oil and gas industry struggled throughout the pandemic, so a spike in summer production was very welcomed.The Department of Mineral Resources' August production numbers have increased, but there’s more to the story.

July numbers finally put the state back above one million barrels per day, with the month of August showing nearly 1.2 million barrels per day, a 12 percent increase from July.

Although these numbers look promising, Department of Mineral Resources leaders said it won’t be smooth sailing going forward. On average, there’s only been 11 drilling rigs operating in the state for the past few months.

“That’s the best number we’ve seen since April,” said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.

The increase coming as oil companies race to drill land held by federal permits ahead of the possibility of a Joe Biden win in the November general election.

“Less concern I think on the fracking end than on no drilling permits. No new drilling permits on public lands,” said Helms.

Helms added drilling on public lands like the Fort Berthold Reservation, which holds five out of the 14 drilling rigs in the state, is ramping up right now, but said he doesn’t expect more rigs to join them.

“We’ve just about tapped out the return to production increases that we’re going to see,” said Helms.

He said October’s oil production should remain stagnant, while November production is a bit of a guessing game. Helms confirmed that production will be based on the outcome of the general election.

If Joe Biden secures the presidency, production will pick up ahead of his Inauguration Day in January. If President Donald Trump is reelected, reassurance on where the oil industry stands will cause production to slow.

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