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Published September 27, 2013, 09:07 AM

North Dakota regulator: Oil production to double by 2017

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's daily oil production will double to 1.6 million barrels by 2017, according to the state's top oil regulator.

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's daily oil production will double to 1.6 million barrels by 2017, according to the state's top oil regulator.

The Dickinson Press reports that Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms made the prediction Thursday in Dickinson at the annual meeting of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.

North Dakota is the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas. The Department of Mineral Resources said North Dakota oil drillers produced an average of 874,460 barrels per day in July. That's up from an average of 821,598 barrels daily in June.

North Dakota's oil patch had a record 9,322 producing wells in July, up from 9,096 wells in June.

The state also produced a record 30 million cubic feet of natural gas in July, up from about 28 million cubic feet produced in June.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil production in North Dakota. Data show that 30 percent of the state's gas production is being burned off because development of the pipelines and processing facilities needed to handle it has not kept pace with production.

Helms said natural gas flaring as the No. 1 challenge for state regulators. Helms said he's working with the North Dakota Industrial Commission about policy changes that could help decrease flaring.

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