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N.D. Crude Oil Production at Record Level

North Dakota is the only state among the largest oil-producing states to have increased capacity from 2000 to 2010.

Crude oil production in North Dakota rose to approximately 112 million barrels in 2010, an increase of 32 million barrels from 2009. This growth was the largest gain among the 31 oil-producing states and two federal offshore areas.

This month’s “Economic Brief,” a monthly publication from the North Dakota State Data Center at North Dakota State University, focuses on crude oil production throughout North Dakota and the nation.

North Dakota’s oil production increased sharply in the late 1970s and peaked in 1984 at nearly 53 million barrels. Production declined throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. After a small rise in the mid-1990s, production slowed again. Production dropped to 29 million barrels by 2003. Since 2004, crude oil production in North Dakota has grown an average of 22 percent per year.

Total crude oil production in the U.S. (2 billion barrels in 2010) declined each year from 1985 to 2008, except for a slight increase in 1991. Nationwide, crude oil production rose 7 percent in 2009 and 3 percent in 2010.

In 2010, North Dakota ranked fourth in crude oil production out of 31 oil-producing states and outpaced one of the two federal offshore areas. North Dakota produced an average of 307,000 barrels of oil per day in 2010, which was 6 percent of the nation’s total production.

The nation’s four largest oil producers in 2010 were the federal offshore area in the Gulf of Mexico at 598 million barrels, Texas at 417 million barrels, Alaska at 219 million barrels and California at 204 million barrels.

“North Dakota is the only state among the largest oil-producing states to have increased capacity from 2000 to 2010,” says Richard Rathge, State Data Center director. “For example, during that period, Alaska dropped its production by 38 percent, California 25 percent and Texas 6 percent. Meanwhile, North Dakota increased production by 242 percent. If these trends continue, North Dakota could outpace both California and Alaska within four years.”

Seventeen of North Dakota’s 53 counties produced oil in 2010. Mountrail County was North Dakota’s largest crude oil producer in 2010 at 46 million barrels, followed by McKenzie with 16 million barrels, Dunn 15 million barrels, Bowman 11 million barrels, Williams 10 million barrels, Billings 4 million barrels, Divide 3 million barrels and Bottineau 2 million barrels.

An additional nine counties produced the remaining 5 million barrels of the state’s overall crude oil in 2010.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - July 19, 2011

Source:Richard Rathge, (701) 231-8621,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
Oil Production By State Preview
(0719 economic brief.pdf - 375.49 Kb)
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