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North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Output Passes 600,000 Barrels a Day

Oil production from the North Dakota portion of the Bakken shale formation topped 600,000 barrels a day for the first time in July, up 69 percent from a year earlier.

North Dakota’s Bakken output was 609,580 barrels a day in July, according to the state Industrial Commission. That compares with 598,510 barrels a day in June and 360,820 barrels in July 2011.

“It’s amazing how quickly production has grown, and it’s still in its early stages,” Christian O’Neill, a Bloomberg Industries senior analyst for oil and gas based in Skillman, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “Completion techniques are improving, and the time to drill wells is getting shorter and shorter. This is the beginning of an oil renaissance in North America.”

Increased production out of the Bakken, the Eagle Ford formation in southern Texas and the Permian Basin in western Texas helped U.S. oil output rise to the highest level in 13 years in July, weekly Energy Department data show.

The U.S. met 83 percent of its energy demand from domestic sources in the first five months of this year, heading for the highest annual level since 1991, according to department figures compiled by Bloomberg.

The Bakken stretches into South Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan, but the majority of production comes from North Dakota, O’Neill said.

Bakken oil on the spot market rose $1.25 to $103.81 a barrel at 11:03 a.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its premium to West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude, surged to $6.50 a barrel on Sept. 10, the highest level in almost a year, as refineries on the East and West coasts gained more access to it through rail shipments.

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