WILLISTON, N.D., July 10 (Reuters) - North Dakota posted a 3 percent increase in daily oil production for May, state regulators said on Friday, a surprising feat that hints the state's Bakken shale formation may be more resilient to sliding crude prices than expected.
The state produced 1,201,159 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in May, up from 1,169,045 bpd in April, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, which reports on a two-month lag.
Given the more-than 50 drop in U.S. crude prices since last summer, many had expected output to drop in May as it did in April.
Indeed, the number of drilling rigs has also plunged in the past year - to 73 from 189. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the state has not been this low since 2009, but each rig now pumps more than twice as many barrels compared with six years ago.
Natural gas output for May rose 6 percent, and the number of producing wells in the state hit an all-time high of 12,659.
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