WILLISTON, North Dakota (AP) — North Dakota has joined the ranks of the few places in the world that produce more than a million barrels of oil per day, due in large part to the rich Bakken shale formation in the western part of the state.
The April figures released Tuesday by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources showed the record tally. North Dakota had flirted with the million-barrel-per-day mark for months, but the harsh winter slowed the pace. In March, production had hit 977,000 barrels per day.
North Dakota’s oil fields now represent more than 12 percent of all U.S. oil production, and more than 1 percent of global production — a situation unfathomable just a decade ago, when technology hadn’t yet caught up to the challenge of extracting oil from the shale. Since then, the oil boom and the jobs it brings have transformed North Dakota, now home to the nation’s fastest-growing cities and its lowest unemployment rate.