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An oil drilling rig in McKenzie County west of Watford City, North Dakota. (Image: Tim Evanson via Flickr)

Power outage delays Bakken drilling data

On Wednesday Bismarck, North Dakota, experienced a power outage which shut down computer servers servicing the Bakken oil patch.

As reported by Reuters, the servers provide data which tracks the plethora of statistics across the second largest oil producing state in the nation. The loss of power caused North Dakota’s daily rig count to be unavailable. The rig count serves as a gauge for future oil production. As of the day before the outage, the rig count stood at 76, near the level it has been for several weeks.

The state’s rig count is collected daily by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the state’s oil and gas regulatory body. Field inspectors upload the data to the servers in Bismarck which then aggregate the information and automatically posts it to the department’s public website. Additionally, the DMR site provides information such as the depth and length of nearly 15,000 wells and oil production history. The majority of this data is mapped using graphs, showing locations of each drilling rig in operation.

DMR spokeswoman Alison Ritter told Reuters, “We’re hoping to get power back soon to the servers, but we’re just not sure on timing.” The company that owns and operates the utilities servicing the region, MDU Resources, reported that an issue with a substation located in northern Bismarck caused an unknown number of customers to lose electricity. Crews were on the scene early in the day to assess the damage. MDU spokesman Rick Matteson said, “They’re not sure what the problem is and they don’t as of yet have an estimate for a restoration time.”

According to the latest monthly report from the DMR, North Dakota produces approximately 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. Production statistics for May are scheduled for release on Friday. To read the original report, click here.

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