BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota already has set an oil production record for the fifth consecutive year and the state is on pace to best the previous mark by more than 50 million barrels.
The state Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday that crude production through September totaled more than 173.9 million barrels, up from the record 152.9 million barrels set last year.
North Dakota produced 21.8 million barrels in September, up from 21.7 million barrels in August, agency spokesman Alison Ritter said.
Oil production numbers typically lag at least two months. Ritter said its "pretty feasible" that the state will end the year at more than 200 million barrels, once October, November and December production results are factored.
Steve Grape, the domestic reserves project manager for the U.S. Department of Energy's information administration, said North Dakota accounts for nearly 12 percent of total U.S. crude production, up from 1 percent less than five years ago.
North Dakota trails only Texas in oil output. North Dakota has risen from the ninth biggest oil state just six years ago with improved horizontal drilling techniques in the rich Bakken shale and Three Forks formations in the western part of the state.
"No way has North Dakota's oil production been a straight line," Grape said. "The growth has been amazing."