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North Dakota passes Oklahoma in drilling activity

August 02, 2010
Activity in the Bakken Shale helped North Dakota overtake the Sooner State as the third-most active state in drilling for oil and natural gas.

From Bloomberg:

The number of North Dakota rigs exploring for and producing oil and gas jumped by two to 128, Baker Hughes said. Oklahoma fell by nine to 123, the biggest drop among the states. Oklahoma is home to the oil delivery hub for the U.S. Midcontinent.

Drilling in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota’s Williston Basin, aided by technical advances in extracting fuel from shale formations, helped make the state the fourth-largest oil producer as of March, behind Texas, Alaska and California, according to data from the Energy Department in Washington. It accounted for 4.6 percent of total U.S. output.

“What you’re seeing is continued interest in producing out of the Bakken,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, a consulting company based in Houston. “There’s been a significant increase in North Dakota, whereas Oklahoma production was virtually unchanged over the past two years.”

North Dakota pumped 251,000 barrels a day on average in March, up 29 percent from the year before and up 74 percent from 2008, according to the Energy Department. Oklahoma output averaged 184,000 barrels a day in March, little changed from 183,000 in 2009 and 186,000 in 2008.

More than 95 percent of North Dakota wells are targeting oil trapped in two hard, impermeable rock formations, Bakken and Three Forks, Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, said in a July 17 statement posted on the department’s website. Oil and gas flowed to market through 4,893 wells in May, a record for the state, he said.

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