HOUSTON, April 12 (Reuters) - Operators in North Dakota's Bakken oilfield reduced their rig count to 36 in April, down from 40 in March, marking the lowest number this year as a wave of consolidation has swept through the oil patch, state regulators said on Friday.

"Their drilling budgets are disrupted especially if both are active in the Bakken. They may have an entirely new rig schedule, trying to coordinate with the midstream folks to come up with gas capture plans," said Lynn Helms, North Dakota director of mineral resources.

He pointed to the recently announced $11 billion merger between Chord Energy and Enerplus. And last year, U.S. oil giant Chevron proposed to buy Bakken-focused producer Hess Corp.

Crude oil production in North Dakota rose 13% in February compared with the prior month, after hitting a one-year low in January when a cold snap disrupted activity, state regulators said.

Output in the third-largest oil producing state rose 144,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) to 1.247 million bpd, monthly data from the state Industrial Commission showed. (Reporting by Georgina McCartney in Houston; Editing by Liz Hampton and Leslie Adler)