In this week's news update, a Duke University study calculates fracking water use, and oil production in the Bakken continues to slow down.

New statistics from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources show that the slowdown in the Bakken oil region is continuing.

As of Sept. 14, the rig count in the Bakken was at 69 active rigs, down 68 percent from the state’s all-time high of 218 rigs in May 2012, according to the department.

Production numbers also showed a drop for the first time in years. In July, Bakken oil production was at 1,201,920 barrels per day, down about 10,000 bpd from the June numbers.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

The department says oil price weakness is the primary reason for the slowdown. The price for Bakken sweet crude was down to $29.75 per barrel, close to the low point of $22 per barrel from December 2008 when the boom began.

Duke Study Looks at Water Use During Fracking

A study conducted by Duke University found that energy companies used nearly 250 billion gallons of water to extract unconventional shale gas and oil from hydraulically fractured wells in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014.

Related: Guest Blog: Fracking Finally Gets a Good Rap

The fracked wells generated about 210 billion gallons of wastewater during that same period, according to the study. However, the study calculates that the water used in fracking makes up less than 1 percent of total industrial water use nationwide.

The study says that compared to other energy extraction methods, fracking is less water-intensive in the long run.

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