Mark Perry shows what an exponential curve looks like: it looks like North Dakota’s daily oil production from the year 2000 through October. It’s visual evidence of the miracle of free enterprise and technology allowing access to energy that has been there for centuries but only now being made available to consumers. Government didn’t do this (sorry, Mr. President), but private capital seeking to maximize its returns.

And maximize they have:

New monthly oil production data released today by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources show that the Peace Garden State set more new monthly records for production in October. For the third month in a row, the state produced more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day, and the 747,238 barrels of daily North Dakota oil in October set another new all-time record. Total North Dakota oil production in October exceeded 20 million barrels for the fourth straight month, and the monthly output of more than 23 million barrels in October established a new monthly production record.

Daily production in the year 2000 was just 100,000 barrels a day and now exceeds 700,000. And the production continues to grow at an increasing rate. October’s production was 53% higher than a year ago, with similar gains, year-over-year, of 57% in August and September. It has only taken 17 months for oil production to double.

It’s mostly due to the Bakken formation which produced 7% of the state’s production just five years ago but now produces more than 90%.

It’s because private capital is pouring into the state, funding the development of (ready?) five new wells every day, each of which adds about $8 million to North Dakota’s economy, every day.

The economic is predictable. Says Perry;

As a result of the state’s boom, North Dakota continues to lead the nation with the lowest state unemployment rate at 3.1% in October, and almost five percentage points below the national average of 7.9% for that month.  There were ten North Dakota counties with jobless rates below 2.0% in October, and Williams County, which is at the center of the Bakken boom, continues to boast the lowest county jobless rate in the country at just 0.7%.

The exponential in North Dakota production has fueled exponential in the state’s oil and gas jobs, which have more than tripled over the last three years.  Overall employment throughout the entire state has increased 5.3% over the last twelve months, or almost four times the tepid 1.4% pace of job growth nationally during that period.

North Dakota is running a $1.billion surplus, has the lowest home foreclosure rate in the country, and is part of the reason for the optimism that the US could become energy self-sufficient within the next ten years. As Perry exclaims: “Carpe Oleum!”  [seize the oil!]

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