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By Nick Smith, Bismarck Tribune
State officials provided lawmakers with a largely upbeat picture Monday of state revenues and oil production with both holding fairly level despite a recent decline in oil prices and rig activity.
The interim Government Finance Committee heard updates on oil production and the status of state revenue collections in the Roughrider Room at the state Capitol.
Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said there were 73 active rigs drilling Monday, down 120 from a year ago. He said increased efficiency of drilling, concentration of activity in highly productive areas and a large backlog of wells requiring completion by hydraulic fracturing will allow production to remain close to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day for the year.
“They (industry) plan to maintain that inventory … for the foreseeable future,” Helms said. “This is a slowdown, but this is not a bust by any stretch of the imagination.” Continue reading…