The three-to-four billion barrel Bakken play in North Dakota is certainly gaining attention…and prompting some big plans. From Tom Dennis, Grand Forks Herald:
North Dakota’s fate now is tied to the price of oil, in a way that’s likely to influence our state and federal elected officials for years or even decades to come.
While North Dakota’s “original oil in place” figure exceeds the UAE’s currently recoverable reserves, Dubai is a Las Vegas-like showpiece today because the oil there is so much easier to get at. Many Persian Gulf reserves are so accessible that oil companies can profit even when oil sells for a few dollars a barrel. So, the oil flowed decades ago when the price was exactly that, and it has flowed steadily ever since.
Shoots holes in the Buffalo Commons theory, doesn’t it? That’s the theory promulgated back in the ’80s by Frank and Deborah Popper of Rutgers, arguing that Great Plains were oversettled in a terrible historic mistake and that natural and economic forces would eventually lead to their depopulation. Best to rationalize the process and have an enlightened federal policy to create an American Serengeti, the Buffalo Commons, they argued.
And are still arguing. From a Bismarck Tribune article, September 2, 2007:
“There’s no question now that the Buffalo Commons will happen,” Frank Popper said in a recent interview. “The interesting questions are how.”
The current rig count suggests Popper may be too stuck on his grand theory.
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