Oil fueling North Dakota's economic boom

July 15, 2013 at 6:50 AM

WASHINGTON, July 15 (UPI) -- Oil production from North Dakota helped push the state's gross domestic product well above the national average, the U.S. Energy Department said.

The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said gains in real GDP in North Dakota coincided with ongoing development of the Bakken oil play in the region.

The Bakken reserve area is associated with the Williston Basin, which includes the Three Forks Formation. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the area contains as much as 7.4 billion barrels of oil and 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources said oil production reached an all-time high of 793,249 barrels per day in April, the last complete month for which information is available.

The EIA said North Dakota's GDP in 2001 ranked 38th out of the 50 states. By 2012, the GDP per capita of $55,250 was 29 percent greater than the national average.

"Even though the state appeared to be closing the gap on the U.S. average before Bakken production began, the rising oil and gas production likely contributed to the economic growth the state has enjoyed," the agency said Friday.

North Dakota is a bright spot in terms of the national economy. The EIA said the state has the highest population growth rate in the country.

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