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North Dakota rig count expected to dip further after OPEC meeting

Stacked rigs are seen along with other idled oil drilling equipment at a depot in Dickinson, North Dakota June 26, 2015. REUTERS

WILLISTON, N.D. - North Dakota’s drilling rig count is expected to fall further after OPEC failed to agree on a unified output cap on Friday, the state’s oil regulator said.

The drilling rig count in the second-largest U.S, oil producing state has dropped in the past year to 64 from 191, due to falling oil prices <CLc1> and improving efficiencies.

The state sees OPEC as one of its biggest rivals, and on Friday the 13-member group failed to agree on an oil production ceiling, effectively flooding the global market with even more crude.

Lynn Helms, head of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, said he was “disappointed” with the OPEC meeting’s outcome and added that it likely serves as an ominous harbinger for the state’s drilling rig count.

“This will most likely increase downward pressure on the state’s rig count and potentially effect additional wells requesting not-completed status,” Helms said in an email to Reuters.

More than 1,000 wells in North Dakota are awaiting fracking, and extended delays require approval from Helms.

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