The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

ND Oil Production 'Off the Chart'

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 6, 2010

North Dakota produced a record amount of crude oil last year, putting it ahead of Louisiana as the fourth-largest oil-producing state. The state produced 79.7 million barrels of crude oil in 2009, and it expects to produce even more this year.

"Oil production was off the chart in 2009," Ron Ness, president of North Dakota Petroleum Council, told the Associated Press. "I think 2010 is going to be way off the chart."

According to the annual oil patch statistics released by the petroleum council, North Dakota produced 218,455 barrels per day in 2009 from areas inside and outside of the Bakken Formation, which is an oil-rich shale formation that stretches under the western half of the state. A couple of years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey made headlines when it announced the Bakken could hold up to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, which was 25 times higher than its previous estimate.

In recent years, North Dakota has experienced an oil boom. The petroleum council reports:

  • The state had an average of 52 rigs working daily in 2009. Nearly 130 rigs are drilling in North Dakota now.
  • A total of 517 new wells were drilled last year with a success rate of 98 percent.
  • Some 5,200 wells were capable of producing oil and gas last year.
  • Since oil drilling began in the state in 1951, North Dakota has received about $3 billion in oil tax revenues.
  • Nearly 13,000 people worked directly for the oil and natural gas industry in North Dakota in fiscal year 2008-2009, and the average wage was $82,803 which was more than 132 percent above the statewide average wage.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says North Dakota accounts for about 2 percent of the United States' total oil production.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.