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The Bakken Shale Oil Field - North Dakota

Oil & Gas in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada?  Yes, and lot's of it!  The Bakken Shale formation is making residents in some of these counties in North Dakota, Montana, Southern Canada, and parts of Manitoba Canada very rich.  How?  Drilling Companies are knocking on the doors of landowners and buying their mineral rights.

What is the Bakken Shale oil field?

The Bakken oil shale is a deposit of shale deep below the earth's surface that contains oil.  Oil shale is a sedimentary rock that contains solid Kerogen materials that get released as liquids when the shale rock is heated.  Oil Shale, like the Bakken Shale play, was formed millions of years ago by deposits of organic debris or silt that formed in lake beds and sea bottoms.  Oil can be extracted out of the Bakken Shale formation area but the process is tricky and expensive since the shale is a solid.  How it works:  Drilling companies drill a vertical well followed by a horizontal well deep below the ground.  Operators then shoot a mixture of water, sand, and a small chemical solution at high pressures which causes the bakken formation to fracture.  They then pump the oil out of the well and send it off by truck for sale.

Bakken Shale Facts & History

The Bakken Shale is located in the Williston Basin which can be found in northern United States of America.  Many geologists have known about the Bakken Shale oil field for a long time.  The fact is, until recent years, oil prices remained low and our dependence on oil has been even lower.  This made drilling areas like the Bakken Formation unattractive due to the high well costs.  During the Spring and Summer of 2008, oil prices are pushed above $140 which caused many companies to lease land from landowners to drill for oil in North Dakota.  Areas in the Bakken Shale like Williams County and Dunn County, North Dakota have been changing rapidly.  With companies hiring workers and drilling as fast as they can, more people are flocking to this area.   The unemployement rate in this region is one of the lowest in the nation.  You can find a six figure truck driving job very easy!  Crime is rising, restaurants can't cook food fast enough, and the demand for houses is probably the highest in the nation.  Residents say this is all happening to fast and they hope things will slow down a bit. 

How much oil does the Bakken hold?  While estimates are all over the place, I think he Bakken Shale oil field may hold between 10 - 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil.  This could all change however, as the whole state of North Dakota could be sitting on oil..  Geologists and drilling companies are also focusing on the Sanish/Three Forks region.  This is a seperate oil reservoir that is showing huge promise.  Some of the top oil companies that are drilling for oil in the Bakken say by 2015 total production per day could reach 1 million barrels.  As of 2013, the Bakken formation is still young and probably only in the 2nd inning.  By 2015, there will be a lot more housing developments for workers to live in rather then these temp housing parks you see all around.

Bakken Natural Gas

There has also been natural gas released from the shale fracturing in the Bakken Formation.  Estimates have the Bakken Shale field hold a little less then 2 trillion cubic feet.

For a much more indepth look at the Bakken Shale, including the Cities, Counties, and companies involved in the drilling process, visit:
Also, check out two more exciting Oil Discoveries - Eagle Ford Shale - Niobrara Shale

- In North Dakota, Williams County and McKenzie County are in the core oil zone of the Bakken Shale.  Other key Bakken producing counties are Divide County, ND - Burke County, ND - Ward County, ND - McLean County, ND - Mountrail County, ND - Dunn County, ND - Billings County, ND - Golden Valley County, ND - Mercer County, ND - Stark County, ND - Grant County, ND - Renville County, ND

In Montana, Richland County is a big oil producing county.  Other counties include Sheridan County, MT - Roosevelt County, MT - Dawson County, MT - Prairie County, MT - Wibaux County, MT