by Stephen J. Lee, Inforum, Grand Forks, May 14, 2012
North Dakota passed Alaska in March to become the second-leading state in crude oil production, trailing only Texas, according to officials from Alaska and North Dakota.
It’s been a dramatic rise for a state that was behind seven other states in 2006 in terms of oil production.
North Dakota produced an average of 575,490 barrels of crude oil every day in March, another record, and up from 558,255 barrels a day in February, according to Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources. The crude is coming from a record 6,636 wells, up from the previous record of 6,450 set in February.
The number of rigs drilling in the state was at 208 on Monday, about where it’s been for eight months, including a record 212 drilling for a day or two earlier this month.
North Dakota’s new record output of crude surpassed the steadily declining output of Alaska, which saw its production fall to 567,481 barrels per day in March, down nearly 15,000 barrels from February’s daily average, said Stephen McMains of the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Monday.
Meanwhile, Texas’ production has been rising by 12 [11? -- D.R.] percent since September, to 1.72 million barrels per day in February, the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which tracks state and federal crude oil production. Meg Coleman, a geologist with the EIA, said preliminary figures make it appear Texas’ production increased in March [Texas produced 1.755 million barrels per day in March 2012, according to preliminary EIA figures. -- D.R. Please see also "Texas Crude Oil Production, Jan 2007-Jul 2012" -- D.R.].
Fueled by the Bakken [shale play -- D.R.] boom in the Williston Basin in the western part of the state, North Dakota’s oil production has nearly quadrupled [sic] since March 2007, when it averaged 118,103 barrels per day.
In December [2011 -- D.R.], North Dakota’s crude production eclipsed California for the third ranking; California produced 540,000 barrels a day in February and it will remain about the same when March figures are released later this month, said Gordon Schremp of the state’s energy commission [California produced 538,000 barrels a day in March 2012, according to EIA -- D.R.].
The top four producing states – Texas, North Dakota, Alaska and California – accounted for 55 percent of the nation’s February total crude output of 6.144 million barrels a day, which also includes about 1.4 million barrels per day produced from federal off-shore wells, according to EIA. [...]
Alaska has seen decreasing production for decades, since pumping out more than 2 million barrels a day in the 1970s [sic; in 1987-1988 -- D.R.]. [Read more]
(Also, please see "Five States Accounted for about 56% of Total U.S. Crude Oil Production in 2011," "North Dakota Surpasses OPEC Member Ecuador in Oil Production," "United States: Top 8 Crude Oil Producing States, 2006-Feb.2011," and "North Dakota Oil Tax Revenue Breaks $100M Mark in March as Industry Booms." 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 310,000 barrels per day in 2010, surpassing the previous peak of 218,000
barrels per day in 2009. In 2011, North Dakota's crude output grew further to reach 419,000 barrels per day. 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, to 510,000 barrels per day in November 2011 and, as mentioned, to 575,000 in March 2012. Update: Please watch an interview with Lynn Helms, here Videos -- D.R.)