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N.D. oil production drops 5.5 percent in December

WILLISTON, N.D. - Extreme winter weather in December prompted North Dakota oil production to decline 5.5 percent to 923,227 barrels per day, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Department of Mineral Resources.

It was the first month in about a year that North Dakota did not set an oil production record.

Natural gas production fell nearly 9 percent to 991,330 million cubic feet per day.

Natural gas flaring increased significantly to 36 percent because the Hess Corp. Tioga Gas Plant was down during December as it transitions to a new plant, said Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms.

The expanded plant was expected by be operational in January, but delays have pushed that back until the end of this month, Helms said.

The flaring percentage is expected to drop significantly after the plant is online.