From USGS and North Dakota, Big News

By April 10, 2008Energy

It’s a big news day for the U.S. Geological Survey and North Dakota. Yes, we know, what’s next? Worthwhile Canadian initiatives?

But really. Today, the USGS releases a study on the potential oil to be developed from the Bakken Formation, part of the Williston Basin oil patch centered on North Dakota. From the Kansas City Star:

Deep under the northern Badlands, trapped tightly in dense layers of shale, there is oil.

Perhaps hundreds of billions of barrels of it.

A long-anticipated federal report to be released today will examine just how much might be squeezed out of a vast blanket of rock called the Bakken Formation.

Making it profitable to develop are $100-a-barrel oil and new technologies, including increasingly sophisticated methods of horizontal drilling.

Scientific curiosity bubbled up last year — as did the economic hopes of rural North Dakota — when Houston-based EOG Resources reported that a single well it had drilled below the town of Parshall was expected to deliver 700,000 barrels in its lifetime. In 2007, the number of wells in the Bakken rose from 300 to more than 450. Drillers have encountered the formation throughout an area known as Williston Basin, through which the Missouri River flows.

We’ll keep an eye out for news, but for now, there’s more background and commentary at the Bakken Shale Blog.

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