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On the Path to North American Energy Independence: Administration Ups Estimates for U.S Oil and Gas Reserves


The Interior Department’s United States Geological Survey released new data yesterday that showed reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana hold much more oil and gas than previously estimated. The administration doubled its estimates for oil and tripled its estimates for natural gas resources in the Williston Basin. According to the agency, production in the region could reach 7.4 billion barrels of oil and 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

These western states have already seen dramatic economic growth in recent years thanks to a surge in oil and gas production, and this new data confirms the American energy boom will continue. U.S. oil and gas estimates have risen as private-sector innovation and advances in drilling technologies have opened access to new reserves. Experts predict that estimates will continue to grow as technology advances.

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Interior Department boosts estimates of oil-and-gas resources in North Dakota
April 30, 2013

A federal reassessment of oil-and-gas resources in North Dakota found the state holds twice as much shale oil — and three times as much gas — than was previously estimated.

Technological advancements have made the unconventional fossil fuels in North Dakota’s Three Forks formation “technically recoverable,” the Interior Department’s United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced Tuesday.

And by rolling Three Forks into the Bakken shale formation, the region that spans North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana could now produce 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

Compared to 2008 estimates, that’s triple the amount of shale gas and double the amount of shale oil that the region could yield.

“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement. …

Read the full article online HERE.

USGS doubles estimate for oil from Williston Basin to 7.4 billion barrels
April 30, 2013

WILLISTON, N.D. — The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday the Williston Basin has between 4.4 billion and 11.4 billion barrels of oil that is recoverable with today’s technology.

Although the figure is more than double what the survey said in 2008, geologists and industry leaders said Tuesday the estimate is conservative and will only get bigger as technology advances. The survey is the first by the USGS to include the Three Forks Formation as well as the Bakken Formation.

John Harju, associate director for research with the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota, said he views the USGS figure as the lower limit of the amount of oil that will be recoverable from the Williston Basin.

“Like any of these USGS estimates, think of them as a milemarker that’s well behind you in the rearview mirror,” said Harju, a petroleum geologist.

Advancements, such as drilling deeper into the Three Forks Formation that is just beginning to be tapped or using carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery, would substantially increase the USGS figure, Harju said.

“What this doesn’t even begin to recognize is the increase in technology that we’re going to see,” Harju said. …

Read the full article online HERE.


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