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North Dakota oil drillers have surpassed a milestone of half a million barrels of oil a day.

State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says North Dakota's oil patch accounts for about 10 percent of total U.S. crude oil production. That's up from just 1 percent less than five years ago.

The state Industrial Commission says crude production in November totaled 510,000 barrels a day, or about 150,000 more barrels than in November 2010.

North Dakota went from the ninth-biggest producer in 2006 to fourth in 2009. Helms says North Dakota could be the nation's No.2 oil producer early next year, surpassing California and Alaska, and trailing only Texas.

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Helms says the state's record production could be higher but it has been slowed by the lack of hydraulic fracturing crews.

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