BISMARCK, N.D. | A good month for bringing new oil wells on line caused December to see another record for oil production in North Dakota.

The latest numbers released Friday showed the state produced 768,800 barrels of oil a day for the month, up 33,000 barrels a day or nearly 5 percent from November and yet another all-time record.

The state is ranked second in the country for oil production behind Texas.

Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms said December's production surge came along with 123 new wells brought on line in a month of good winter weather.

He said it's now possible to estimate that 90 new wells have to go on line every month to maintain production levels. That many to keep the production number from slipping backward is due to an initial burst of oil that declines after days or weeks.

The state now has 8,224 producing oil wells.

Helms said the rig count is stable, though it has slipped slightly this winter, down Friday to 182 rigs, off from 186 in November and the all-time high of 218 rigs last May.

There are more than 400 wells that have been drilled but not yet hydraulically fractured.

Besides oil, natural gas production reached another all-time high of 805,000 mcf per day. Helms said more gathering lines and gas processing capacity are holding flared gas at 29 percent. That number is much higher than the national average, but down some from the all-time high of 36 percent of gas flared in 2011.

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