It’s a record: 2013 oil production tops 64 ml barrels

The final numbers are in: 64,080,425 million barrels of oil were produced in Colorado last year, breaking a record set by the oil industry in 1956, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The oil production marked a 30-percent increase from the 49.3 million barrels oil in 2012. In 1956, the state saw almost 62 million barrels of oil produced.

Colorado achieved record-setting oil production before the end of 2013, but a spokesman for the state Division of Natural Resources, which oversees the state oil commission, said the numbers only recently were finalized.

In 2013, Weld County produced nearly 51.9 million barrels of oil, accounting for 80 percent of the state’s oil production. Weld’s 2013 oil production surged 42 percent from the 36.6 million barrels of oil produced in the county the prior year.

October 2013 was the best oil-producing month for Weld, when 5.4 million barrels of oil were produced.

Higher, more stable oil prices in 2013, combined with drilling techniques hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, led to the record-setting production, said Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association.

As long as oil prices remain around $100 per barrel, oil companies will continue to invest in Colorado, he said.

The West Slope’s Rio Blanco County, which has the second highest oil production in Colorado, produced 4.6 million barrels of oil in 2013, down from 4.8 million barrels in 2012.

Meanwhile, statewide natural gas production fell to 1.6 trillion cubic feet in 2013 from 1.7 trillion cubic feet the prior year.

Colorado producers generally made larger investments in oil production because of lower natural gas prices, Dempsey said.

Garfield County produced 649.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the most in the state in 2013. Behind La Plata County with 356.5 billion cubic feet, Weld County ranked No. 3 with 302.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas last year. In 2012, 271.8 million cubic feet of gas was produced in Weld.

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