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North Dakota oil production drops below 1M barrels, first time since 2014

Crews work at an oil well site near Williston, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WILLISTON, N.D. — North Dakota oil production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day for the first time since April 2014.

The state's oil production fell 4.7 percent in August to an average of 981,039 barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday, Oct. 13.

Director Lynn Helms has attributed the slowdown to low oil prices, which are now expected to last at least through 2016 and potentially to mid-2017.Thirty-three drilling rigs were operating in North Dakota on Thursday, compared with 67 a year ago and 191 two years ago.

The number of wells that were drilled but waiting on fracking crews fell to 888 at the end of August, down 24 from the month earlier.

Natural gas production fell 3.5 percent in August to 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, according to the preliminary figures.

The percent of natural gas flared in August was 11.4 percent.