No gold and few hills, but plenty of oil as North Dakota produces all-time high

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North Dakota's oil boom continues to explode, as the latest numbers how the states production continues at a record pace.

The Associate Press reports from Bismark that the Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of about 782,000 barrels per day in March. That's more than double the amount of barrels produced for the same month in 2011. The agency says there were 8,634 producing wells in March. That's up from 5,439 wells in March 2011.

The March tally is the latest figure available because oil production numbers typically lag at least two months, says the AP.

The news has been somewhat of a foregone conclusion for the last week, as February figures showed production grew 6.1 percent from the previous year to more than 715,000 barrels.

And the business, at least, is still growing, with the Williston Herald reporting that the rig count in North Dakota’s Bakken is up to 191 from 186 in March and April, as noted in a monthly report by Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

“Operators are gradually picking up the pace as summer weather begins while continuing to push higher efficiency and cost-cutting measures,” Helms tells the Herald. Helms foresees 2,477 additional potential future wells on the Forth Berthold Reservation alone.

All this comes after news on May 1 that the latest assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the oil-rich region of western North Dakota holds more than twice the recoverable crude oil estimated just five years ago. The state is only second to Texas in domestic oil production.

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