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The North Dakota Bakken: A global player

Many individual U.S. states, not just the nation as a whole, are now ranked among the top energy producers in the entire world according to a ranking published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) released last week.

Overall, the United States is the third largest crude oil producing nation in the world, next to Russia and Saudi Arabia. Although North Dakota’s production trails far behind Texas, the king of domestic oil production, the Rough Rider State’s production rate of 1.1 million barrels per day secures its spot as the 20th largest producer in the world due to the exploitation of the region’s tight oil formations.

The Institute for Energy Research in Washington, D.C., says that although other countries have significant oil and gas reserves locked in tight shale plays as well, the U.S. is the only nation that has capitalized on the resource. “Many individual states are now global leaders in their own right,” said API Vice President for Economic Policy Kyle Isakower.

IER Vice President of Policy Dan Simmons says, “The U.S. system of laws and regulations has led to the shale revolution here.” He noted that the regions where shale exploration is occurring in the U.S. is evidence of the role laws and regulation play in developing shale energy resources.

Simmons explained, “We see a lot of activity in North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but there’s no real production going on in New York because of the regulations.” The IER’s analysis of data from the Energy Information Administration states that hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have led to “an oil and gas production renaissance” in the U.S. with more than 40 percent of oil and gas being produced from shale formations.

Of the top 20 oil producing nations, the production rate of Texas has the state nestled between Iran (ranked seventh) and United Arab Emirates (ranked eighth) overall. North Dakota’s production follows closely behind top oil producers such as Norway (ranked sixteenth), OPEC member state Qatar (ranked seventeenth), humbly claiming the fame of being the twentieth largest oil producer worldwide.

“This is what energy security looks like,” Isakower said. “Rising domestic production has helped to reshape global markets and revitalize job creation here in the United States. Shale production has changed the way other countries view competition from America. To harness the world-class opportunity in front of us, it’s critical that policymakers open the doors for free trade and lift regulatory barriers on the construction of vital energy infrastructure, including pipelines and export terminals.”

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