April figures show new ND oil records
Jun 13, 2012 (Menafn - Grand Forks Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --North Dakota keeps setting records in crude oil and natural gas production, according to the state's Department of Mineral Resources.
According to the latest figures released today, in April there were 18.28 million barrels of crude oil pumped out of 7,025 wells, both records and up from 17.9 million barrels out of 6,932 wells in March.
That puts the daily production at an average of 609,373 barrels in April, also a new record and keeping the state in second place among oil-producing states, behind Texas.
North Dakota's April production amounts to 9.7 percent of total U.S. crude oil production in March -- the latest federal figures available -- of 6.25 million barrels per day on average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Last week, the EIA reported that for the first time 14 years, U.S. crude oil output topped 6 million barrels per day, as figures from the first quarter revealed. It was mainly due to increases in North Dakota and Texas production, as well as more drilling on federal leasaes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Crude production remained at 5.5 million to 5.6 million barrels per day most of last year.
The last time daily U.S. output was higher than 6 million barrels a day for a quarter was October-December 1998, EIA said.
In March, North Dakota's daily crude oil production averaged 577,478, a slight upward adjustment from figures released a month ago for the month, according to Alison Ritter, spokeswoman for the mineral resources department, which regulates the state's oil and gas industry.
Last month was the first time North Dakota surpassed Alaska in crude oil production in terms of barrels per day. California, in the number four slot, and Alaska have seen crude oil production decline steadily for several years. In April, Alaska's crude oil declined again, slightly to average 552,384 barrels per day, down about 15,000 barrels per day from March production figures, according to Alaska's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. California's crude production has remained around 435,000 to 440,000 barrels per day for several months.
Texas produced 1.75 million barrels in March, continuing several months of increases, according to the federal EIA
There were 211 rigs drilling new wells across the state's Williston Basin today, down a few from the record levels set last month. Nearly all the new wells being drilled are into the Bakken and adjoining Three Forks formations which produce the sweet crude North Dakota is getting famous for.
The state's crude production has increased by 73.5 percent, on an average daily basis, since April 2011, and has more than quadrupled since April 2008 as the Bakken Boom began to blossom.
Natural gas production, a natural byproduct of drilling for oil in North Dakota, also set another record in April, totaling 19.5 million MCF, or thousand-cubic-feet. About a third of the natural gas produced is flared off, or burned on the drilling sites, because of low prices and lack of infrastructure to move the gas to market, according to state regulators.
The price for North Dakota sweet crude was pegged Tuesday at 73.25 per barrel, according to Flint Resources, one of the companies that posts prices. That was 6.50 below Flint Resource's posted price for the U.S. benchmark West Texas crude on Tuesday and 75 cents lower than a week earlier. The record price for the state's crude was set July 3, 2008, at 136.08 per barrel, according to Lynn Helms, director of the mineral resources department.
Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send email to email@example.com.
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