Daily oil production in December sets record in North Dakota, but number of rigs is falling

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BISMARCK, North Dakota — The number of barrels of oil produced per day set a record in North Dakota in December, but the number of rigs in the oil patch has dropped precipitously since then.

The state's Mineral Resources Department estimates December production at slightly more than 38 million barrels, or about 1.23 million barrels per day. That broke the November record of 1.19 million barrels per day.

However, the drilling rig count dropped from 188 in November to 181 in December and continued to fall, to 137 on Friday. Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says that's the lowest since July 2010.

Helms says falling oil prices are "by far the biggest driver behind the slowdown."

The percentage of flared natural gas in December was 24 percent of production, down 1 percent from November.

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