Rig activity in North Dakota slowing down, though state's government said diversity if key component of economic momentum. File Photo by UPI/Shutterstock/Lilac Mountain.
BISMARCK, N.D., June 16 (UPI) -- As the state's governor boasts of strong economic growth in 2014, North Dakota data show activity in the exploration and production sector is in decline.
State data for Tuesday show the number of rigs actively exploring for or producing oil and natural gas in North Dakota is 76, an increase of a single rig above the lowest count recorded since 2009.
The number of rigs deployed in North Dakota is down nearly 60 percent from last year and 64 percent, or 138 rigs, below the historic peak reached in 2012.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis last week reported gross domestic product in North Dakota increased 6.3 percent last year, beating out all other U.S. states. Gov. Jack Dalrymple said no single industry in the state was behind the growth trajectory.
"This top ranking proves once again that our continued economic growth stems from nearly every business sector and that no single industry tells the whole story of North Dakota's progress," he said in a statement.
Per capita personal income in the state behind the shale oil boom in the United States increased from an average $29,842 in 2004 to $54,951 last year.
Ratings firm Standards & Poor's in April said the North Dakota economy will be able to cope with a depressed energy sector. For cities and counties in the oil-rich parts of the state, the slowdown could result in decreased revenues during the second half of 2015 and early 2016.
The impact would be greater for local governments whose economies are concentrated in the oil industry, S&P said.
Dalrymple, in his State of the State Address early this year, recognized the potential impacts of the oil market downturn for his state, but held out expectations for a correction.
The state in its latest forecast expects to take $8.3 billion in tax revenue from oil and gas for 2015-17. That forecast assumed oil prices in the $74-82 per barrel range. West Texas Intermediate crude oil last traded at $59.93 per barrel.