Preliminary data released indicates that North Dakota oil and gas production continued to soar in January and the state now ranks third nationally in average daily oil production, surpassing California and following only Texas and Alaska. With the Bakken formation, North Dakota continues to ride the shale boom.

More definitive data from North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) Director Lynn Helms has been delayed, a DMR spokesperson told NGI Shale Daily on Tuesday.

Separately, MDU Resources Group Inc.’s exploration and production unit, Fidelity Exploration and Development Co., reported this month that it set an all-time individual production record in the Bakken of more than 5,000 boe/d (see Shale Daily, March 13).

Overall, the state is now producing an average of 546,000 bbl/d, an increase of 11,000 bbl/d compared to statewide December totals, DMR said.

Reuters reported that the latest North Dakota total — a 59.2% increase in daily oil production from a year earlier — pushed the state past California, although state officials have not confirmed that.

North Dakota data released last Thursday showed total January crude production at 16.9 million bbl and natural gas production at 17.7 Bcf, or about 571 MMcf/d, DMR said. “There were 6,600 wells producing in January, an increase of nearly 200 wells from December,” the spokesperson said. The average rig count has remained steady at 200.

The preliminary January statistics also showed 212 new spuds, or new wells drilled, compared with 140 at this time last year, the spokesperson said.