DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission says the state produced nearly 48 million barrels of oil in 2012, an amount not seen in decades.

A preliminary tally of Colorado’s 2012 production stood at 47,951,265 barrels Monday – about 22 percent more than the 39,129,565 barrels produced in 2011.

Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, attributed the increase to the oil-rich Niobrara formation north of Denver, as well as to improved technology in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

He says oil production in the mid- to late-1950s also was high, in part because the Rangely field in northwest Colorado was producing significantly and demand was high. The state produced about 61 million barrels of oil in 1956.

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