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Efficiences mean less jobs in the oil industry

Inside Energy has been reporting on how oil companies have become more efficient since oil prices have dropped.

Now, a North Dakota official says because of efficiency gains, that state’s oilfield is unlikely ever to regain the number of jobs lost during the slowdown.

Today there are 73 drilling rigs in North Dakota. That’s down from nearly 190 in December. Yet oil production is almost as high as it was then -- 1.2 million barrels a day. That’s because companies are concentrating on the most productive areas to drill. And because rigs are twice as fast as they were two years ago.

“It’s pretty astounding at how good they’ve gotten at what they do," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. He says rigs are so much faster now that it’s unlikely there will be 190 of them in the state ever again. That means fewer drilling jobs -- even if prices re-bound.