March 28, 2008

Gusher! Massive Oil Deposit Could Increase US reserves by 10x

Next2.13s.jpgWho Says There's No Really Good News?

There's Oil in Them Thar Black Hills

"America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America's Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC's short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

"In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel."

Wikipedia notes:

Bakken Formation Estimates for ultimate oil contained in the entire Bakken play range from 271 billion to 503,000,000,000 US barrels (80,000,000,000 m), with a mean of 413,000,000,000 US barrels (65,700,000,000 m3) of technically recoverable and irrecoverable oil.

Some history at Bakken Formation Reserve Estimates [PDF]

The Field:

The structure of the field:

"The Bakken was deposited during the Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian periods. An upper shale that is 23 feet thick and a 50-foot lower shale sandwich a middle member composed of interbedded limestones, dolomites, siltstones and sandstones. Current drilling targets this middle member, some 85 feet thick.

"The Bakken formation is prolific because it is tightly sealed by overlying and underlying carbonates. As hydrocarbons were generated in the Bakken shales during geologic time, internal fluid pressures fractured the rocks. The bounds of the thermally mature portion of the Bakken are drawn at depths of 8,500 feet or greater, which corresponds to temperatures of 100? Celsius or above. Inside that area, the Bakken is overpressured, often oil-wet, and rife with natural fractures that make it capable of producing at high rates." -

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Posted by Vanderleun at March 28, 2008 9:47 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Any person who has spent time in the extractive industries, in doing feasibility studies or in developing new projects, knows that there is lots of stuff out there. Some of it is beyond reach because prices are too low to justify the investments, specifically because transport infrastructure is too poor, or because regional hostilities and a lack of economic integration keep the stuff from being moved across borders in a secure and cost-effective way. But the resources are out there. Mountains of iron ore in eastern Bolivia, bauxite in Surinam, copper in northern Argentina, everything you can think of in the Congo, and massive resources here in North America. We Yanks may have to wait to develop these until the whole political culture changes, that is, until we are all freezing in the dark, but develop it we will. Someday.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at March 28, 2008 10:23 PM

Somebody call Ellis Wyatt.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at March 28, 2008 11:34 PM

You know what this means - some group of whactivist nutjobs is going to go into full-on campaign mode to save the spiny vole and stop the drilling. I can see it now - they'll form human shields on the ground wearing red shirts (to represent the deaths of thousands of rodents), crying "No Voles for Oil."

Until we can come up with an extraction method to get around the rabid environmentalists and the NIMBYs, oil will still be too expensive to drill for on a large scale anywhere in this country.

Posted by: Julie at March 29, 2008 7:07 AM

One must weigh in the expense of appeasing the environmental wackjobs when considering the true costs - just as Julie said. I would think the trick here is perception. If we allow this resource to be developed by white men in suits, resistance will be stiff and expensive. Let a coalition of Native Americans, dolphins, Katrina victims, and liberal law firms have 51% percent of the action, and we could see dollar gas by this time next year.

Posted by: Cynyr at March 29, 2008 7:26 AM

Evil Rob and I had the same reastion— "Well, duh."* Glad to see that it's accessible, though.

*Geology is entertaining. My family used to go on vacations and look at rocks.

Posted by: B. Durbin at March 29, 2008 9:55 AM

We will not be out of the woods until the last lawyer is strangled with the entrails of the last environmentalist.

Posted by: Fat Man at March 29, 2008 2:58 PM

Surely the Granola Heads have already identified this area as the only possible habitat for the Polka Dot Side-Jumping Jackalope, a creature so rare and reclusive it has never been seen. However, like the blank spots in the Atomic Table of Elements, its very absence proves its existence. They are ever watchful and can quick-draw lawsuits to block any effort to develop this resource.

Posted by: BoiseBB at March 29, 2008 3:09 PM

there is alot of oil there but the amount that can be recovered is the issue. Perhaps as low as a few percent in which case it could be even less than in ANWR. Not insignificant but not a saviour either.

Posted by: Barnabus at March 29, 2008 8:04 PM

Sounds too good to be true....

Posted by: feeblemind at March 30, 2008 9:27 AM

""""""We will not be out of the woods until the last lawyer is strangled with the entrails of the last environmentalist."""""""

That's brilliant! If it's not already a bumper sticker, it should be.

It should be pasted right alongside this one:

""""DON'T Drink the Kool-Aid! Vote for McCain.""""

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at April 2, 2008 3:42 PM
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