- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Oil production grew again last year in southwest Nebraska thanks to new techniques, but state officials don’t expect the boom to last long.

The Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission estimates that 2.8 million barrels of oil were produced in the state last year, but final numbers aren’t yet available, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1jr9flZ ).

Commission Director Bill Sydow said that’s better than the 2.5 million barrels produced in 2012, and it would the best year since 2001.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Sydow said.

But Sydow said he expects many of the new oil fields in Hitchcock and Dundy counties, in the southwestern part of the state, will dry up by the end of 2014. More than half of all the oil production in the state is coming from those two counties.

“It will probably begin to drop off pretty fast,” Sydow said.

And even with the increases, Nebraska’s oil production remains relatively small compared to other oil-producing states.

Most of the headline-making oil booms around the country, such as in North Dakota, are possible because of the hydraulic fracturing drilling technique. But in Nebraska, the oil producers are using three-dimensional seismic imaging to locate hidden deposits of oil.

Sydow said that technique of bouncing sound waves off underground rocks has helped boost oil production in Nebraska.

“The prices have helped, but I think the success of the 3-D is a big part of it,” Sydow said.

Hitchcock County has led the state in oil production since 2011, and production there surged again last year to top 1 million barrels thanks to a large find in the Burntwood Canyon field near Stratton.

That Burntwood Canyon area produced 87,000 barrels of oil in November and nearly 125,000 in December, which translates into more than 4,000 barrels a day.

Sydow said before the Burntwood Canyon find, the top-producing field in the state yielded 350 barrels per day.

“I’ve never been around anything like this in Nebraska … nobody has,” Sydow said. “It’s almost unbelievable.”

Nebraska’s oil production may be small compared to other states, but it has still provided an economic boost to the area near the Kansas border. Business is brisk at many restaurants, hotels and construction companies.

And now a Kansas company has proposed building a new unloading facility in Holdrege to take crude oil off trucks and load it into a pipeline. The National Cooperative Refinery Association said the new facility could handle up to 20 tanker trucks a day, if approved.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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