North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken shale formation, the largest unconventional oil field in the U.S., posted a 1.4 percent increase in production in June.
Output increased to a record 756,980 barrels a day, from 746,340 in May, according to the state’s Industrial Commission. The field produced less than 70,000 barrels a day in June 2008.
The Bakken’s rising output has fueled a U.S. oil renaissance, propelling national crude production to the highest level since 1989. The U.S. met 87 percent of its energy needs in the first four months of 2013, which would be the highest annual rate since 1985, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Bakken production growth has slowed this year as a severe winter made it more difficult for trucks to bring the water, chemicals and sand needed for the hydraulic fracturing process to drilling sites. Production increased by 52,820 barrels a day over the first six months of the year, compared to 128,030 a year earlier.
Total oil production in North Dakota in June was 821,410 barrels a day, below the 830,000 level the state had forecast, Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, said during a conference call.
“The biggest reason was we still had load restrictions on in the first week or two in June,” Helms said. “That cause will go away and we’ll see a pretty significant surge in production in July or August as a result.”
July production figures will be reported in mid-September.
The state Pipeline Authority said 68 percent of Bakken oil output left by rail and 25 percent by pipeline. That’s the lowest portion of rail shipments since January and the highest share of pipeline transportation since December. Most of the remainder is used by Tesoro Corp.’s refinery in Mandan, North Dakota.
Bakken’s discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate widened by 35 cents to $4 a barrel at 3:31 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.