With oil hovering around $65 a barrel - up more than $20 from June - the Bakken, a tight-rock formation under North Dakota, Montana and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, is poised to test its output record.

Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Mineral Resources Department,  indicated last month that Bakken output is set to surpass the December 2014 record of 1.23 million barrels a day in the first half of 2018.

“We are optimistic,” Helms said. “Everything points to more rigs, more frack crews, more activity in North Dakota.”

Kathleen Neset, founder of Neset Consulting Services in Tioga, North Dakota stated that newer technology has played a key role in keeping Bakken competitive. "Wells that used to take as long as 80 days to drill now can be done in as few as 10", she said.

Ironically, the North Dakota rig count is down about 19 percent since July, according to Baker Hughes data.

"That’s because most output growth comes from wells that were drilled and not completed and are now being brought into production", Neset said.

For now, those who stuck it out in the Bakken are being rewarded, even if the boom times aren’t quite as good as they once were, Creedence Energy’s Kevin Black said.

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