Before the infrastructure improvements, the state’s pipeline, rail and refining capacity was only 189,000 barrels a day. Now, based on recent investments, that capacity is about 400,000 barrels a day. It should be enough to handle the expected growth in crude oil production for the next two years, if the price remains steady. And recent history suggests that production from the Bakken Formation will continue to grow beyond that limit. North Dakota pockets $9.3 million a year for every $1 increase in the price of crude oil.
Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources, said if crude prices hold, North Dakota could hit 350,000 barrels of oil a day by late 2011. That amount of production is within the state’s shipping capacity
North Dakota surpassed Louisiana last year as the fourth-largest oil-producing U.S. state.