If you're living in a state that has had high unemployment and sluggish economic recovery, it's understandable if you're a bit jealous of our folks in North Dakota.
Their economy is in overdrive and the biggest problem they have is that they can't build new infrastructure and housing fast enough to accommodate all the new workers who've migrated there to cash in on the Bakken oil boom.
North Dakota oil production demolished previous records in oil production for December 2012.
The latest numbers released last Friday by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources showed the state produced 768,800 barrels of oil a day for December. Eight years ago production there was under 100,000 barrels a day.
That’s up 33,000 barrels a day — or nearly 5% from November 2012 — and yet another all-time record.
According to Brian Hicks, who reports for Energy and Capital,there are no signs that oil production in the Bakken is going to slow down any time soon.
North Dakota’s Industrial Commission released a study last month saying 95% of drilling in North Dakota targets the Bakken and Three Forks Formations, and according to the Energy Information Administration, the Bakken accounts for 90% of North Dakota’s oil production. Three Forks runs along the outside of the Bakken Shale.
In total, the Industrial Commission estimates 6.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil are available in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. Only 244 million barrels have been recovered so far.
Hicks says that at current production levels and the reserve estimate cited above, the Bakken boom can last at least another 25 years. And that’s assuming reserve estimates don’t go up.
The technology to retrieve the oil in these shale formations is accelerating so fast, Hicks says he wouldn’t be surprised if reserve estimates continue to go higher and higher. And that goes for all of the shale formations in the United States.
For now, North Dakota is second in U.S. oil production only to Texas. And by all measures, that gap is closing fast.