In 2012 North Dakota’s oil production from the Bakken shale hit 600,000 barrels per day. That represented a hundred-fold increase over the 6,000 daily barrels being produced in the region as recently as 2006.
Last year North Dakota’s oil production surpassed 800,000 barrels per day.
And in April of this year, according to North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, the state’s oilfields pumped more than one million barrels per day.
Call it the million-barrel milestone. And what a significant milestone it is. North Dakota is currently the No. 2 state in terms of oil production, behind only Texas. It now accounts for 12 percent of U.S. production.
It wasn’t always like that. At one point, in 1999, so many had given up on North Dakota that there were no rigs drilling for oil in the state.
The most recent count shows 190 rigs operating now, and the ability to drill multiple wells from a single pad is improving efficiency and driving the state’s astounding production growth.
To add more historic context to this recent achievement, consider that the Bakken is only the tenth oilfield in the world to reach one million barrels of production per day.
Just as extraordinary is the profound economic benefit that this production means for the Peace Garden State. According to the North Dakota Petroleum Council, “One million barrels is estimated to generate $50 million per day in economic activity and will contribute more than $11 million per day in state taxes at the current oil price for a Bakken sweet crude barrel.”
That is economic activity and tax revenue that North Dakota wasn’t seeing just 10 years ago, when the oil in the Bakken shale lay trapped underground. It helps explain why the state’s “rainy day” Legacy Fund, which was approved by voters in 2010, now tops $2 billion.
To mark this milestone, industry officials will hold a party today in Tioga, where the state’s first oil well was drilled in 1951. And with good reason. They have a million barrels, tens of thousands of jobs, better funded schools, and a decade of extraordinary economic growth to celebrate.