BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota is poised to surpass California and Alaska to become the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas.
North Dakota's rise in oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks shale formations has propelled it from the nation's ninth-biggest oil producer to fourth since 2006.
Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says the state is rapidly gaining ground on California and Alaska. He says North Dakota should take the No. 3 oil-producing spot from California by the third quarter of next year.
North Dakota is producing about 444,000 barrels daily. That's up about 118,000 barrels from last year.
Energy Department records show that North Dakota trails California by about 95,000 barrels daily, and Alaska by about 110,000 barrels. Energy officials say oil production in those states is declining.