Finance & Investing
News Services
Newsletters
Get free industry updates via email.
Daily News
Weekly News
Equipment Updates
Weekly Job Register
Monthly Event Guide
Our privacy
pledge.


advertisement

USGS Estimate of Bakken, Three Forks Doubles

change text size
USGS Estimate of Bakken, Three Forks Doubles

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana to contain a mean of 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil.

The Bakken has an estimated mean oil resource of 3.65 billion barrels of oil and the Three Forks formation contains an estimated mean resource of 3.73 billion barrels of oil, according to the USGS assessment released Tuesday. The two formations are also estimated to contain an average of 6.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas and .53 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids.

The 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 2008. The estimate in gas and gas liquids represents an almost threefold increase in mean natural gas and a nearly threefold increase in mean natural gas liquids resources from the 2008 assessment.

The assessment marks USGS' first update of Bakken resources since 2008. The USGS in 2008 estimated the Bakken formation to contain estimated mean undiscovered volumes of 3.65 billion barrels of oil, 1.85 trillion cubic feet of associated/dissolved natural gas.

The primary difference between the new assessment and 2008 assessment is the inclusion of information for the Three Forks formation, said USGS officials in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The size of the overall increase in oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids resources is largely due to the inclusion of the Three Forks formation.

While the estimates for Bakken oil resources would appear to be the same for 2008 and 2013, the size of the Bakken estimate increased as well, a USGS spokesperson told Rigzone in an email statement.

"It's deceptive, because although our current estimate of 3.65 billion barrels of oil for the Bakken is numerically the same as the 2008 assessment for the Bakken, you have to remember that oil companies have been producing millions of barrels of oil since the 2008 assessment, gradually transforming the undiscovered resources to the proven reserves then production barrels," the spokesperson commented. "Because our assessments do not include proven reserves or produced barrels of oil, the 3.65 billion does represent an increase."

The assessment was conducted as part of a nationwide project to assess U.S. petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol. More than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin since the 2008 USGS assessment, providing updated subsurface geologic data on both the Bakken and the Three Forks formations.

Approximately 450 million barrels of oil have been produced from the Bakken and Three Forks formations since the 2008 Bakken formation assessment.

Little data had previously existed on the Three Forks formation, which was generally thought to be unproductive. However, new drilling has brought to light new understanding of the reservoir and its resource potential.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell called the assessment "another piece in the puzzle to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil".



Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Related Companies

More from this Author
Karen Boman
Senior Editor | Rigzone.com
 -  3D Software Allows Greater Clarity in ... (Oct 29)
 -  Faster ROPs behind Launch of New Drill... (Oct 28)
 -  FracInsight Offers Better View of Wher... (Oct 27)
 -  WoodMac: US to Achieve Energy Independ... (Oct 24)
 -  Continental Confirms Productivity of S... (Oct 24)
Most Popular Articles
From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Product Manager - Production Chemicals
Expertise: Project Management, Sales and Marketing
Location: Houston, TX
 
Senior Division Order Supervisor
Expertise: Accounting or Finance
Location: Houston, TX
 
Sr. Internal Auditor - Addison, TX - 14-0401
Expertise: Accounting or Finance
Location: Addison, TX
 
search for more jobs