Summer has finally arrived in the Williston Basin. On the plains and in the badlands, flood waters are receding, if slowly. Heavy trucks carrying equipment in and crude oil out are rumbling on country roads again. After record-breaking snowfall and a dangerously wet spring muddied roads, collapsed culverts, flooded some wellheads and delayed completions, the industry is working hard to catch up.
Last year close to 1,200 wells were drilled, compared to 800 in the previous peak year, some 30 years ago, in 1980. The state is producting more than 342,000 barrels a day.
On the natural gas side, consulting firm Bentek Energy LLC says the Bakken gas-processing infrastructure has not kept pace with dramatic growth in rich-gas production, exacerbating the need to flare gas. "An average 18% of gross production from the Bakken has been flared over the last 12 months. Based on Bentek's analysis, Bakken processing capacity will remain constrained until 2014, when the construction of 490 million cubic feet a day of announced processing capacity is completed.
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