State officials in North Dakota may allow more wells to be temporarily idled as drillers contend with swelling global supplies and low oil prices.
According to Reuters, the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources is considering granting some drillers extensions to the current one year period they have between fracking a well and bringing it to production.
North Dakota had 914 wells that have been drilled but not completed as of July, with most of the drilling to production windows for those wells closing this December.
The regulator has not made a final decision yet, but director Lynn Helms told Reuters the agency is “leaning towards” boosting requests to temporarily idle wells.
Helms added that permission to temporarily abandon wells would be given on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s a delicate balancing act because royalty owners expect to get royalties from those wells,” Helms told Reuters.
The extended window would take some financial pressure off drillers and curb the amount of oil moving onto an already flooded market.
As Bloomberg noted, about 85 percent of U.S. wells were not being completed as of March 2015, representing as much as 3 million barrels per day of initial output.
Natural gas production in the state climbed to a record high of about 1.65 million cubic feet per day.