By: Bob van der Valk
Dateline: Terry, Montana
May 17, 2012

North Dakota March crude oil production jumped by 10.14% in April 2012 from the previous month to 575,489 b/d, according to latest data issued by the North Dakota State Industrial Commission.

About 95% of North Dakota crude production is from the Bakken field. The significant production increase pushes North Dakota ahead of Alaska as the second-highest crude producing state in the US.

They expected to surpass Alaska by the end of this year, but that came a lot sooner than expected, mainly because North Dakota production is rising quickly and Alaska (output) is declining,

Oil producers were eyeing the Bakken oil field in 2006, but production only began to pick up at a serious pace in 2009. North Dakota will continue to raise its crude production volume over the next few years.

High demand for the price-advantaged high quality crude oil barrels has produced some 17 operating trans-loading facilities in the Bakken oil fields of Eastern Montana and North Dakota. That number is expected to grow significantly in the near term as more projects are underway.

The specially equipped facilities allow truck deliveries of crude to be trans-loaded into rail tanker cars or barges for long-distance shipments to coastal markets.

However, in the Bakken, the crude oil trans-loading facilities offer only truck-to-rail services provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

Players in the Bakken market include Northern Tier, Basin Transload, High Sierra, Centennial Energy, Rangeland Energy, Great Northern Midstream, North Dakota Port Services, Dakota Plains Transport, Plains, True Companies, Hawthorn Oil, Kinder Morgan/Watco, Hess, Savage and US development.

Their trans-loading facilities in the Bakken deliver the bulk of their shipments to Cushing, OK and the Gulf Coast, with limited flow to the Northeast and West Coast refineries.

Bakken oil crude production is currently right at 550,000-600,000 barrels per day (b/d) and is expected to go to more than 1 million b/d by 2015.

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