Saturday, May 14, 2011

North Dakota Oil Tax Revenue Breaks $100M Mark in March as Industry Booms

by Judson Berger, Fox News, May 9, 2011
North Dakota's booming oil industry has yielded record tax revenue for the state, breaking the $100 million mark in March at a time when other states are struggling to stay afloat.

The state in just the last few years has become an oil-producing powerhouse and is looking to overtake California in total production. [...]

Much of the recent increase is due to rising crude prices, which have shot up amid concerns over unrest in the Middle East. But North Dakota's oil production is also accelerating rapidly, and state officials expect the windfall to hold steady. [...]

The 350,000 barrels a day produced in March was actually about 2,000 barrels a day lower than in February. But [state Deputy Tax Commissioner Ryan] Rauschenberger attributed the dip to the weather, and said that even if crude prices return to prior levels the state expects to take in $2 billion in oil-related tax revenue over the next two years. [...]

Amid a debate on Capitol Hill over whether the U.S. needs to do more to encourage domestic oil production, North Dakota is charging ahead with expansion. The state industry was helped in no small part by efforts over the past several years to tap into a massive oil field known as the Bakken Shale deposit, where virtually all future expansion is happening [please see remarks below -- D.R.].

Production is expected to grow "substantially," Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, said. With 5,300 wells across the state and thousands more expected to come online, Ness projected that the state could reach up to 700,000 barrels a day by 2015.

North Dakota is the fourth-largest oil producing state in the U.S. behind California, Alaska and Texas [when output from the Federal Outer Continental Shelf/OCS is excluded from the total ranking -- D.R.], and Ness said California is in their "target zone." [Read more]

(Operators increased North Dakota's Bakken production from less than 3,000 bbl/d in 2005 to over 230,000 bbl/d in 2010. The Bakken's share of total North Dakota oil production rose from about 3 percent to about 75 percent over the same period---please see my post "United States: Oil Production From Shale Formations, 2005-2010," here. North Dakota produced an average of 307,000 barrels of crude oil per day in 2010 and comprised about 5.6 percent of the nation's total crude production---please see EIA data, here. For the U.S. crude oil production, please see also my post "U.S. Crude Oil Production, 1970-2010," here. North Dakota's crude oil production increased sharply in the late 1970s and peaked in 1984 at 144,000 barrels per day. Production declined through the late 1980s and early 1990s. After a small rise in 1995-97, production slowed again. Crude production dropped to 81,000 barrels per day in 2003. But since 2004, it has grown constantly to reach the above mentioned all-time peak of 307,000 barrels per day in 2010, surpassing the previous peak of 218,000 barrels per day in 2009. Also significantly, on a monthly basis, North Dakota's crude oil production rose from 138,000 barrels per day in January 2008, to 357,000 barrels per day in November 2010, before falling slightly to 344,000 barrels per day in December 2010. Update: North Dakota passed Alaska in March 2012 to become the second-leading state in crude oil production, trailing only Texas---please see my post "North Dakota Tops Alaska in Oil Production, Trailing Only Texas." -- D.R.)

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