Schweigert, Klemin & McBride, P.C.

Senator pushes for new assessment of the Bakken’s oil

A U.S. senator from North Dakota is priming to take a big risk. John Hoeven, the senior U.S. senator from our state, is requesting a new estimate from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for the amount of recoverable oil in the Bakken-Three Forks formation.

The last estimate is from 2013, and estimated the amount of recoverable crude oil to be at or around 7.4 billion barrels, itself twice as much as the previous estimate from 2008. Now, Senator Hoeven is hoping that a new estimate will continue on the trend of showing more recoverable crude, thereby bringing back production and investments in the Bakken region, according to a recent article by OilPrice.com.  

Driving investment towards North Dakota

Senator Hoeven is banking on an increased estimate in oil due to the fact that oil recovery and extraction techniques have gotten better over the years. According to the Senator, the way to attract major companies such as Exxon is to make the case that there’s enough oil to last decades of production.

But, there’s a risk. A new USGS estimate could show even lower recoverable reserves. Currently, USGS relies partly on data from oil and gas operators, as well as new well numbers and their outputs. As the Bakken has seen lower production over the past two years, there’s a real chance that the estimate could be lower than the 7.4 billion mark set in 2013.

Nevertheless, hopes are high. Technology is rapidly improving. In addition, the controversial Dakota Access pipeline went online in June, replacing costly railways as a means of transportation. Now, more than three quarters of our state’s oil is carried by cheaper, more efficient pipelines. The infrastructure is already in place for a push from the USGS.

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