North Dakota Bakken Crude Output Rises to Record in March

North Dakota’s Bakken, one of the shale formations boosting U.S. oil production to 20-year highs, saw output rise to a record in March.

Crude production increased 0.5 percent to 718,791 barrels a day, the North Dakota Industrial Commission said today. It grew 6.1 percent in February from the previous month to 715,037 barrels a day.

Increased output from the Bakken, the Eagle Ford formation in southern Texas and the Permian Basin in western Texas helped U.S. oil production reach 7.37 million barrels a day in the week ended May 3, the most since February 1992, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The figure slipped by 48,000 barrels a day to 7.32 million last week.

Bakken oil priced on the spot market in in Clearbrook, Minnesota, strengthened by 25 cents yesterday to $3.25 a barrel below West Texas Intermediate crude in Cushing, Oklahoma, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Total crude production in North Dakota rose to 782,812 barrels a day in March, a record based on the preliminary number.

North Dakota’s rig count as of today is 191, up from 186 in March and April, Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Department, said in a monthly report.

“Operators are gradually picking up the pace as summer weather begins while continuing to push higher efficiency and cost-cutting measures,” he said.

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