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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published November 13 2012

North Dkota oil production tops 2011, sets record

WILLISTON, N.D. – North Dakota’s oil production surpassed 2011 totals in September, setting a record.

The Department of Mineral Resources reports that the state’s oil production totaled nearly 174 million barrels at the end of September, compared with the total of 152.9 million barrels produced in all of 2011.

Preliminary production numbers released Tuesday reflected an increase in oil production for September, even though the rig count had declined. September’s production averaged 728,494 barrels per day, compared with August’s production of 701,409 barrels per day.

“September was the first full month where the rig count had dropped and we still had a tremendous increase in production,” said Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter.

The number of rigs operating in North Dakota averaged 190 in September, Ritter said. The all-time high was 218 rigs last May. The average rig count has been below 200 rigs since August, but producers are switching to more efficient rigs, Ritter said.

“This month really shows that operators can do more with less,” Ritter said.

Lynn Helms, director of Mineral Resources, predicts that North Dakota will produce 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2014 or early 2015, Ritter said.

In March, North Dakota surpassed Alaska to be the No. 2 oil producing state, trailing only Texas.

Dalrymple is a Forum Communications reporter stationed in the Oil Patch.

She can be reached at adalrymple@forumcomm.com or (701) 580-6890.

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