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Bakken Oil Fields Mark Billionth Barrel Of Oil

Bakken Oil Fields Mark Billionth Barrel Of Oil thumbnail

Oil drillers targeting the rich Bakken shale formation in western North Dakota and eastern Montana have produced 1 billion barrels of crude, data from the two states show.

Drillers first targeted the Bakken in Montana in 2000 and moved into North Dakota about five years later using advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques to recover oil trapped in a thin layer of dense rock nearly two miles (three kilometers) beneath the surface.

North Dakota has generated 852 million barrels of Bakken crude, and Montana has produced about 151 million barrels through the first quarter of 2014, data show.

Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc., one the oldest and biggest operators in the Bakken, said two-thirds of the production has come in the past three years.

“This milestone validates the immense potential of the Bakken field, and development is just beginning,” the company said in a statement.

Experts had known for decades that the Bakken held millions of barrels of crude, but it wasn’t until oil prices reached record levels that the technology was developed to the point of being able to exploit the formation.

The Bakken encompasses some 25,000 square miles (64,750 sq. kilometers) in North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. About two-thirds of the acreage is in western North Dakota.

Unlocking the once-perplexing formation has propelled North Dakota from America’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2006 to No. 2, behind Texas.

The Bakken and the Three Forks formation directly below it account for about 94 percent of North Dakota’s current oil production, which is nearing 1 million barrels a day, said Alison Ritter, a North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman. Three Forks production is counted toward Bakken production.

North Dakota began producing oil in 1951, when crude was struck on a wheat farm near Tioga in the northwest part of the state. The state tallied its 1 billionth barrel of oil in 1989 and the 2 billionth barrel in 2011. The state is on track to tally its 3 billionth barrel of oil this year or next, Ritter said.

Jim Halvorson, a petroleum geologist with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas, said his state has produced 1.8 billion barrels of oil since 1916.

The U.S. Geological Survey has called the Bakken the largest continuous oil accumulation it had ever assessed. The agency, which bases its data largely on information from oil company and state drilling records, said up to 7.4 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from the Bakken and the underlying Three Forks using current technology.

To capture crude from the formations, companies drill down nearly two miles (three kilometers) then angle the well sideways for about another two to three miles. A pressurized concoction of water, chemicals and grit is injected to break open oil-bearing rock, which allows the oil to flow to the well.

That technique, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, has been blamed for endangering water quality in some states. North Dakota regulators say the state’s water sources are protected by thousands of feet of geologic formations atop fracturing operations.

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15 Comments on "Bakken Oil Fields Mark Billionth Barrel Of Oil"

  1. rockman on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 6:30 am 

    I’m currently redeveloping a field that’s part of a trend along the Texas coast which has recovered 4.5 billion bbls. And I can promise no one here would recognize the name of the play. And I could pile on a dozen more trends in just Texas that have produced many times more then what the Bakken has produced so far. And you won’t recognize one of their names either.

    Not to take anything away from the Bakken but just to put it into perspective. Such as the perspective that the US has produced (thru 2007) 209 billion bbls of oil. IOW the current total Bakken production represents 0.5% of cumulative US oil production. And thru 2005 the world has consumed 1085 billion bbls of oil. IOW the current total Bakken production represents 0.09% of the cumulative global oil production.

    The Bakken ain’t bad but not exactly a game changer in the Big Picture.

  2. Nony on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 8:03 am 

    is your trend a “continuous oil accumulation”? USGS’s terminology for the Bakken, not some idiots…but government geologists.

    P.s. I think you make too much of this trend versus field thing and it’s not well applicable to unconventional reservoirs (non traps). And besides that a terminology nit.

  3. farmlad on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 8:32 am 

    Rockman, Your perspective on the big picture is invaluable. I really do appreciate your contribution on this site.

  4. Nony on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 8:54 am 

    I like it too, Rock. And your being more kind and reasonable, not the kind of person who would get banned like I always do.

    That said, I read around. So…this place is small pond, if you get my drift.

    P.s. Go Skins and thanks for RG3. (And Sammy Baugh).

  5. Makati1 on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 10:24 am 

    They will never see two billion…

  6. rockman on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 2:11 pm 

    Nony – That’s exactly why I don’t like it when folks talk about the Bakken Field for just the implications you offer. But unlike the Eagle Ford Shale some of the Bakken accumulations seem more “fieldlike”. I don’t like that term either but not being a Bbakken expert I dare not venture further into its characterization.

  7. rockman on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 2:13 pm 

    Nony – BTW I you didn’t know I was once banned from The Oil Drum. A sweetheart like me…can you believe it? LOL.

  8. Nony on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 3:32 pm 

    Rock, that raises my respect for you and lowers it for TOD.

    P.s. I’m halfway through another (nontechnical) book on fracking, The Boom, by a WSJ energy reporter. Has some overlap with The Frackers. Is good background for me. Websites are so current news oriented that you don’t get as much the story of the Barnett and the like. I still have to go through the Yergin book–it’s damned thick though and 95%+ of it is about non-US stuff (Russia and the ‘stans and Venezuala and the like) so it’s not quite as topical doe stuff here.

  9. ghung on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 4:46 pm 

    There was quite a bit of discussion on TOD about this alleged “banning”. Apparently no one was banned without repeated warnings, though there were cases of people being temporarily suspended for violating the guidelines which are still prominently listed there. I had the honor of having my account suspended for two days a couple of times for pushing/violating those guidelines.

    I guess some folks felt it wasn’t ‘fair’ for TOD to post specific rules for membership and then actually hold account holders to those rules (or maybe they felt they deserved some sort of special status). IMO, it was one of the things that made TOD a great site, and I NEVER had an issue that couldn’t be quickly resolved via an email to Leanan. Try that on almost any other privately owned site and see how far you get.

    Funny, Nony, I never recall you joining the discussions there, where your points-of-view would have been considered and generally respected; much more than at most other sites. A search of their archives for “Nony” came up with nothing. It’s telling that you use every opportunity to belittle a site that’s no longer active, but never joined the discussion there when you were welcomed to do so.

  10. Nony on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 5:05 pm 

    Was aware of it, but not as much into this scene at that time.

  11. ghung on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 5:30 pm 

    It’s all still there, Nony, including the many discussions/comments. Perhaps you should take the time… I think you’ll find the ratio of babies to bathwater is quite high.

  12. rockman on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 6:10 pm 

    ghung – I was banned (blocked from posting) with no warning and not one single complaint. And I was specifically told by the moderator I had not violated any policies. I was told I was banned because that person didn’t like what I had to say. IOW not how I said it but what I said. At least the moderator had the balls to admit it was purely personal. When the facts came out I was invited back. At which point I told them to go f*ck themselves and I moved over here.

  13. ghung on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 6:30 pm 

    I’ll take your word for it Rock. Sounds like you managed to stick a thorn in someone’s arse (not necessarily a bad thing ;-), but then again, “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch”…, IMO. Thanks.

  14. Yeti on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 7:27 pm 

    Nony, look forward to hearing what you thought of Yergin’s “The Quest”.
    I finished it last week and was left wondering how in the hell the guy could go on for 725 pages discussing the quest for energy and yet devote a miserly 15 pages to “Is the World Running Out of Oil”, wherein he chooses to equate Peak Oil with its physically running out (as opposed to its affordability) and spends the bulk of the section taking a giant crap on Hubbert. He even mentions more than once that Rockefellar’s partner stated in 1885, believing that peak oil was upon them, “Why, I’ll drink every gallon produced West of the Mississippi.” He was wrong, so of course the idea of peak oil is wrong. WTF? Yergin is knowledgeable, but dude’s got an agenda big time.

  15. Nony on Wed, 30th Apr 2014 8:36 pm 


    I think it’s a great background primer so far and a good followup to The Prize. It’s about more than just this little teacup fight. Even if you have a different view from him, still good to have the background on Kashagan and the like. Knowledge is power.

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