North Dakota's petroleum production fell 5% in February, the largest monthly decline in more than two years as cold weather battered the state's oil fields, according to a report released Friday.
"It was a pretty significant decrease," Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, said in a conference call with reporters. "The industry suffered from frostbite."
North Dakota faced below-zero temperatures for many days in February. The extreme cold hindered oil and natural gas production. Still, the setback should be temporary, Helms said.
Oil production in North Dakota and the rest of the country has surged over the past year.
Oil prices have generally been fairly strong, though they experienced a sharp contraction in the fall before rising again. Also, global economic growth has been decent.
North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state after Texas, churned out 1.34 million barrels of petroleum per day in February, down from 1.4 million in January.
While the state's January oil production was initially calculated to be a tad below December's record output, revised statistics out Thursday showed that January actually topped December by a small margin.
North Dakota's natural gas production fell to 2.6 million MCF per day in February, down 3% from January's record output. (An MCF is 1,000 cubic feet of gas.)
The state's oil-rig count stood at 64 in February, before rising to 66 in March and currently sitting at 63. A rising rig count indicates operators are drilling more new wells.