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Published August 04, 2010, 09:21 AM

North Dakota Jumps in Oil Rig Activity

North Dakota now has overtaken Oklahoma as the third-busiest state for oil and natural gas drillers.

By: Associated Press, WDAZ

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Houston-based company that tracks U.S. oil and gas drilling activity didn't list North Dakota among the major players in the nation's energy industry until two years ago.

But Baker Hughes Inc. says North Dakota now has overtaken Oklahoma as the third-busiest state for oil and natural gas drillers, and ranks behind only Texas among states where rigs are drilling solely for oil.

Baker Hughes spokesman Gary Flaharty attributes the rise in rig activity to production and interest in the Bakken formation.

Baker Hughes says North Dakota had 128 rigs actively drilling for oil or natural gas last week compared with Oklahoma's 123. The company said North Dakota had gained two rigs while Oklahoma had lost nine.

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