WILLISTON, North Dakota — The latest figures available show North Dakota's daily oil production reached more than 1.1 million barrels in July, a record high, state regulators announced Friday.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission said the state's more than 11,000 wells produced 1,110,642 barrels of oil per day in July. There is a two-month lag time on the production figures.
July's natural gas flaring rate dropped to 26 percent, down from 28 percent in June. At times, the flaring rate has been as high as 36 percent.
Natural gas is a valuable byproduct of oil production, but without infrastructure in place to capture, use or transport it, oil companies burn it off.
New natural gas capture regulations require companies to reduce flaring rates to 26 percent by Oct. 1 and eventually cut down to 10 percent by 2020. Companies that fail to comply could see the state cut back the amount of oil they are allowed to produce and could, eventually, face daily fines.
In a press call Friday, the commission's Department of Oil and Gas Director Lynn Helms expressed optimism that oil producers in the state were working toward meeting the flaring rate goal.
"The industry is taking this dead serious," he said.
Helms said the regulators will have data by December to determine violations of the new flaring rules and can impose production restrictions then. In March — when regulators will have January's production figures — wells that have not taken action to comply with the rules may face daily fines.
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