Bakken oil estimates double, USGS says

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) released Tuesday an updated oil and gas resource assessment for the Bakken Formation and a new assessment for the Three Forks Formation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Posted May 3, 2013

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) released Tuesday an updated oil and gas resource assessment for the Bakken Formation and a new assessment for the Three Forks Formation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

The assessments found that the formations contain an estimated mean of 7.4 billion barrels (BBO) of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil, representing a twofold increase over what has previously been thought.

The USGS assessment found that the Bakken Formation has an estimated mean oil resource of 3.65 BBO and the Three Forks Formation has an estimated mean resource of 3.73 BBO, for a total of 7.38 BBO, with a range of 4.42 (95 percent chance) to 11.43 BBO (5 percent chance).

This assessment of both formations represents a significant increase over the estimated mean resource of 3.65 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the Bakken Formation that was estimated in the 2008 assessment.

Since the 2008 USGS assessment, more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin, providing updated subsurface geologic data.

Unlike conventional oil accumulations, continuous oil remains in or near the original source rock, and instead of occurring in discrete accumulations is dispersed heterogeneously over large geographic areas. The geological foundation that underpins the assessment was facilitated by data provided by the North Dakota Geological Survey, North Dakota Industrial Commission, Montana Board of Oil and Gas, and multiple industry groups working in this region. This new information and data allowed USGS to develop a more robust geologic model and understanding of the petroleum system of the Bakken and Three Forks Formations.

Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the US onshore and state waters.


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