North Dakota oil falls short of 1 million barrels a day

  • Article by: EVAN RAMSTAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2014 - 9:02 PM

Oil, natural gas production in the Bakken set another record in November, but oil missed the symbolic figure.

North Dakota’s fast-growing oil industry for some time has rivaled the output of smaller OPEC member countries, but the latest data show it is still not quite a million-barrel-a-day producer.

Drillers pumped 973,045 barrels a day in November, the North Dakota mineral resources department said Tuesday, up 2.9 percent from October and a record.

North Dakota’s natural gas production also hit a record at 1.09 billion cubic feet per day, up 1.3 percent from October. Gas flaring also increased to 30 percent from 28 percent in October due to the temporary shutdown of a plant in Tioga.

Energy industry analysts have been expecting North Dakota to soon surpass 1 million barrels per day, a symbolic milestone, in oil production. The November output and growth rate suggests that the state likely passed that measure in December. Both Texas and the separately counted Gulf of Mexico produce more than 1 million barrels of oil per day.

North Dakota, the nation’s second-largest producer of oil after Texas, gets most of its oil and gas production from the Bakken and Three Forks basins in its western third.

The state had a record 10,023 producing wells in November, up 100 from October.

And at the end of November, there were 510 wells awaiting completion, an increase of 50 from November, and an indicator of near-term growth in production. New permits fell in November as companies tend to start fewer wells during winter.

Compared with the 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, North Dakota’s daily oil output has already surpassed that of Ecuador, Libya and Qatar and is now closing in on Algeria, which produced 1.1 million barrels a day in November.

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