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Policy: Environment & Energy

Did North Dakota just hit its oil peak?

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Energy Department,North Dakota,Analysis,Energy and Environment,Oil

North Dakota produces about 11 percent of the oil produced in the U.S., and in the last month for which we have data, May, production hit a record 810,000 barrels a day — the highest month ever. But Great Plains News suggests this might be as good as it gets:

But there are some signs things may be slowing down in western North Dakota’s oil country. Drilling permit applications are down, and it’s taking more time to bring newly drilled wells into production.

I wrote last year about my visit to Williston, North Dakota, at the center of the boom.

Layoffs have brought many men to Williston. One burly transplant in his late 40s, with hands so huge they were difficult to shake, told me he was a Teamster near Sacramento when he was canned in 2008. After two years of taking unemployment checks, he happened to call some friends who had moved from California to Williston.

“How’s the economy there?” he asked.

“Great,” the friend replied.

“How long would it take me to get a job?”

“One day,” his friend said accurately. “If you want a good job, wait a week.”

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