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A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has found that more technically recoverable oil and gas lies below the Bakken Shale formation, in another formation known as Three Forks, than actually in the Bakken itself.
In 2008 a study by the USGS suggested that the Bakken contains around 3.65 billion barrels of oil, but this latest survey has found slightly more oil, 3.73 billion barrels, in the deeper Three Forks formation that lies below, pushing the total, technically recoverable oil to 7.38 billion barrels of oil.
In the initial 2008 survey the Three Forks formation was not fully analysed as it had been deemed unproductive, but subsequent drilling and tests have shown otherwise.
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Natural gas reserves have increased even more, from the 1,850 billion cubic feet of gas and 148 billion barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL) attributed to the Bakken formation in 2008, to a combined 6,726 billion cubic feet and 527 billion barrels of NGL. The Department of the Interior said that “This estimate represents a nearly threefold increase in mean natural gas and a nearly threefold increase in mean natural gas liquids resources from the 2008 assessment, due primarily to the inclusion of the Three Forks Formation.”
Thanks mostly to production in the Bakken, the US oil output has increased from 5 million barrels a day in 2008 to 6.5 million barrels a day in 2012, even exceeding 7 million a day during January and February. Is that about to boom even further?
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com