Guessing game is open again for when oil production in North Dakota will hit 2 million barrels a day

Five reasons North Dakota is second largest oil-producing state in the U.S. Photo by James Ulvog.

First guess I’ve seen since the price slump is for the state to pass the 2 million barrels a day threshold in 2030, according to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. Reported by Inforum on 5/4/19: Bigger than some of OPEC: North Dakota on track to reach 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2030.

For quite some time I have dialed back my focus on Bakken, so there may be other estimates or guesses out there. This is the first one I’ve noticed.

North Dakota is the second largest oil-producing state in the U.S at 1.4M barrels of oil per day (bopd). Texas continues in first place at 3.49M bopd.

If North Dakota were somehow to join OPEC, it would be the sixth largest producer, behind Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, Nigeria, and Angola. If Texas were somehow to join, it would be in comfortable second place, behind Saudi Arabia at 9.8M bopd and ahead of UAE at 3.1M bopd.

Article says the U.S. is largest oil producer in the world at 10.9M bopd, ahead of second place Russia at 10.7M bopd.

Pricing background

Article says break-even price for the core area of Bakken is in the range of $30 to $40 a barrel. Outside those prime places, break-even is ranging from $40 to $70.

Currently Bakken crude is selling for $51.76, per the article. That spread is why the drilling is going so strong.

Drilling efficiencies

For a bit of perspective, and explanation why production keeps soaring, consider:

  • Cost to drill a well:
  •      $8.5M today
  •      $10M – prior to 2011


  • Time to drill a well:
  •      11 days today
  •      33 days at the start of the boom

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