Driving around the oil fields of North Dakota outside of Minot, you’re struck by the fact that you are surrounded by thousands of square miles of rich, expansive farmland—green fields as far as the eye can see. But it’s what lies beneath North Dakota’s canola crop that kicked off a statewide celebration this week.

Nathan Conway, CEO of Fortis Energy Services, Inc. talks to the foreman at Rig 1071 near West Hope, North Dakota. The well is operated by Murex Petroleum Corp. Photo: EnerCom Inc.

Nathan Conway, CEO of Fortis Energy Services, Inc. talks to the foreman at Rig 1062 south of Lansford, North Dakota. The well is operated by Ballantyne Oil Co. of Westhope, ND.  Photo: EnerCom Inc.

The state achieved a notable milestone: daily oil production has topped one million barrels for the first time in the state’s history. Viewed from a global perspective, if North Dakota were a country, the 1 MMBOPD achievement would put the state as No. 21 in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) top oil producing countries.

“North Dakota could be an OPEC country of its own, in terms of production — it’s essentially the production of Ecuador,” said James Fallon, director of downstream energy at global information firm IHS, speaking to the Associated Press.  According to the EIA’s numbers, North Dakota’s daily crude oil production is double that of OPEC member Ecuador.

The EIA lists the world’s top 20 oil producing countries (based on 2012 production data) as follows:


  1. Saudi Arabia*                                  11.73
  2. United States                                    11.11
  3. Russia                                                   10.40
  4. China                                                     4.4
  5. Canada                                                  3.9
  6. Iran*                                                     3.6
  7. United Arab Emirates*                 3.2
  8. Iraq*                                                     3.0
  9. Mexico                                                 2.9
  10. Kuwait*                                               2.8
  11. Brazil                                                     2.7
  12. Nigeria*                                               2.5
  13. Venezuela*                                        2.5
  14. Qatar*                                                  2.0
  15. Norway                                                1.9
  16. Algeria*                                               1.9
  17. Angola*                                               1.8
  18. Kazakhstan                                         1.6
  19. Libya*                                                   1.5
  20. United Kingdom                               1.0

*OPEC Member (Ecuador not in top 20 – 500,000 BOPD)

North Dakota’s daily oil output matches that of the UK, according to EIA figures. Compared to Bloomberg’s list of the top 20 oil producing countries, if it were a country, North Dakota would come in at No. 18, beating out Britain and Egypt, knocking Ecuador off the list. Yet another source of global oil and gas statistics, The Central Intelligence Agency, would put North Dakota the country at No. 21 in its World Fact Book.

Photo Credit: EnerCom, Inc.

Photo: EnerCom, Inc.

The U.S.’s No. 1 fastest growing state economy is not looking to slow down. North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources’ Oil and Gas Division director Lynn Helms told the Associated Press that he expects North Dakota oil production to grow to 1.5 million barrels per day by 2017. With current oil production that surpasses all but 20 countries, and is expected to keep building, the state is looking to accelerate the growth of its oil and gas infrastructure. “Governor Jack Dalrymple said the state wants to boost capacity to 1,400 MBOEPD by 2016 from about 780MBOEPD now,” according to Reuters.

Currently, North Dakota’s economy is increasing at five times the rate of the rest of the country despite a difficult winter season that resulted in shut-ins and delays. In a June 18, 2014 article published by Bloomberg, Jonathan Garrett, an upstream analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston, said: “As the weather improves, operators should have full utilization of all their rigs, and possibly additional completion crews to whittle down the backlog. I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a bit of production growth over the summer. It should be pretty impressive.”

[sam_ad id=”32″ codes=”true”]

Important disclosures: The information provided herein is believed to be reliable; however, EnerCom, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to its completeness or accuracy. EnerCom’s conclusions are based upon information gathered from sources deemed to be reliable. This note is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or financial instrument of any company mentioned in this note. This note was prepared for general circulation and does not provide investment recommendations specific to individual investors. All readers of the note must make their own investment decisions based upon their specific investment objectives and financial situation utilizing their own financial advisors as they deem necessary. Investors should consider a company’s entire financial and operational structure in making any investment decisions. Past performance of any company discussed in this note should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future results. EnerCom is a multi-disciplined management consulting services firm that regularly intends to seek business, or currently may be undertaking business, with companies covered on Oil & Gas 360®, and thereby seeks to receive compensation from these companies for its services. In addition, EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of these companies. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this note. The company or companies covered in this note did not review the note prior to publication. EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of the companies covered in this report or on Oil & Gas 360®. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s reports or Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report.

Legal Notice