A Houston-based company tracked U.S. oil drilling activity

A Houston-based company tracked U.S. oil drilling activity

Baker Hughes Inc. never stopped counting oil rigs in North Dakota, but in 1998 the company removed the state from its list of those with major drilling activity. The list is widely disseminated by the media.

Baker Hughes at the time cited a lack of drilling in North Dakota. The company does not have figures for 1998, but its data show that two years later, only 19 rigs were operating in the state.

president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, Ron Ness, You increase oil production by 50 percent over the past 30 months, you get back on the map with the big boys. North Dakota has hit records this year for monthly oil production and North Dakota sweet crude price. Oil production also is on pace to set a record for the year, according to the state oil and gas division.

The Bakken oil play is one that 10 or 15 years ago probably wouldn’t have been a significant play,” Shiels said. “One of the things that’s really given rise (to it) is horizontal drilling.” Horizontal drilling is a method in which companies first drill vertically, then turn horizontally to tap into the oil, using pressurized fluid and sand to break pores in the rock and prop them open to recover the oil.

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