BISMARCK, N.D., June 29 (UPI) -- The exploration and production side of the North Dakota energy sector may be leveling off as the number of deployed rigs holds steady, state data show.
State government data show 76 rigs in active service as of Monday, one less than the number reported one week ago.
Oil production in April, the last full month for which data are available, was down nearly 2 percent from the previous month to 1.17 million barrels per day. An all-time high of 1.2 million bpd was reached in December.
The rig count in late April was around 84, which was more than 125 lower than the historic peak reached in 2012.
Energy companies are spending less on exploration and production in a weak crude oil market, though oil prices have recovered about $20 per barrel since the start of the year.
Oil services company Baker Hughes last week reported 628 rigs actively exploring for or producing oil in onshore basins in the United States, three less than the previous week. Five more gas rigs were activated for a total of 228.
The North Dakota rig count is near a historic low, but is showing signs of stability. Baker Hughes data show 79 rigs in active service in the state for the week ending May 15.
North Dakota is the No. 2 oil producer in the nation and, while the state's economic is reaping the benefits, state Gov. Jack Dalrymple said no industry is driving the momentum by itself.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis earlier this month reported gross domestic product in North Dakota increased 6.3 percent last year, beating out all other U.S. states.