North Dakota’s crude production continues to grow on strength of Bakken, Three Forks

HOUSTON — North Dakota’s crude oil production passed a record 1 million barrels per day in April and remained above the benchmark in May on the strength of production from the Williston Basin’s Bakken and Three Forks formations, according to government reports.

In April, the North Dakota produced 30,097,687 barrels of crude and averaged 1,003,256 barrels produced per day through the 30-day month, according to data compiled by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources. In May, the state produced 32,228,691 barrels for average daily production of 1,039,635 barrels per day through the 31-day month, according to the latest preliminary data available.

One reason for the growth in oil production was the addition of 227 producing wells through the state. North Dakota counted 10,892 producing wells in May compared to 10,665 in April.

Average production per well in the state also grew between the months, from about 2,822 barrels per month per well in April to about 2,959 barrels per month per well in May.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report Monday that the growth in drilling may have yielded knowledge about the North Dakota formations that contributed to the increased production.

In the Bakken, the relatively low thickness and low permeability of the formation means that better information on the location of the oil can translate quickly into more production.

Though oil production in North Dakota first began in the 1950’s, the large-scale production didn’t begin until the discovery of the Parshall Field in 2007, according to the report. Since then, North Dakota’s crude oil production has grown at a staggering rate.

The state’s oil fields now account for 12 percent of all U.S. oil production, and more than 1 percent of global production.