The number of rigs drilling for oil in North Dakota hit 40 earlier this month after hovering in the 30s for several months.

“Industry has indicated there’ll be 50 rigs by next year,” said Lynn Helms, state director of mineral resources.

This level is not expected to stop the production decline. A rig count of 60 is the “magic number” to stop the drop and flatten out productions levels.

Helms said he expects production levels to decline in the coming months due to weather and a low level of drilling and completion activities. He said a 900,000 barrel per day production level is still likely for the middle of 2017.

Workover rigs, which are used for maintenance and service on existing wells, will be put into action when a well needs to be brought online. When the workover rigs have been idling for months, Helms said, it’s “expensive if not impossible” to get them going again, especially in cold weather.

— The Journal, Crosby

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