Bakken/Three Forks Official Reserves Double

On April 30, 2013, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released an updated oil and gas resource assessment for the Bakken Formation and a new assessment for the Three Forks Formation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. The assessments found that the formations contain an estimated mean of 7.4 billion barrels (BBO) of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil. The updated assessment for the Bakken and Three Forks represents a twofold increase over what has previously been thought.

The USGS assessment found that the Bakken Formation has an estimated mean oil resource of 3.65 BBO and the Three Forks Formation has an estimated mean resource of 3.73 BBO, for a total of 7.38 BBO, with a range of 4.42 (95 percent chance) to 11.43 BBO (5 percent chance). This 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 the 2008 assessment.

“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,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We must develop our domestic energy resources armed with the best available science, and this unbiased, objective information will help private, nonprofit and government decision makers at all levels make informed decisions about the responsible development of these resources.”

A key component of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy is the availability of sound science to guide informed decision-making regarding the safe and responsible development of America’s domestic energy resources.

“The USGS undertook this assessment of the Bakken and Three Forks Formations as part of a nationwide project assessing U.S. petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol,” said Acting Director of the USGS Suzette Kimball. “Through this improved understanding of our energy resources, government, industry, and citizens are better able to understand our domestic energy mix and make wiser decisions for the future.”

Since the 2008 USGS assessment, more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin, providing updated subsurface geologic data. Previously, very little data existed on the Three Forks Formation and it was generally thought to be unproductive. However, new drilling resulted in a new understanding of the reservoir and its resource potential.

In addition to oil, these two formations are estimated to contain a mean of 6.7 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids. Gas estimates range from 3.43 (95 percent chance) to 11.25 (5 percent chance) trillion cubic feet of gas and 0.23 (95 percent chance) to 0.95 (5 percent chance) billion barrels of natural gas liquids. 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.

Bakken Rig Count Drop

I’m seeing quite a few search requests asking questions about the drop in the North Dakota rig count. The count as of today sits at 183 the highest ever was 218 so over all we are looking at about a 16% drop from the peak.

Why did the rig count drop?
There are probably several reasons. The economy and oil prices are the #1 factor of course, but climate is another big reason. We are unlikely to see record rig numbers this far north during the winter. The fact of the matter is that most rigs are not built to handle temperatures below zero and after – 20 there is almost nothing they can do to keep things from breaking. Any of the rigs that came up from the south for the summer will require too much retrofitting to make it worth their time.

The brutal winter of 2010 provided some hard lessons to rigs that came up from the south. Companies do not want to get burned twice. In addition, oil prices are not great and there is a lot of action in Texas right now so the current rig drop probably is not anything to worry about. Drilling companies are trying to save their men and equipment from dealing with brutal conditions that can occur in the Williston Basin. If oil prices are above $80 the spring I expect to see our rig count come back up, but there will be more competition in the south than there has been the last few years. The Eagle Ford shale and several other formations are competing for drilling resources. Companies will send the rigs were they can make the most money.

Oil demand will be the real driving factor. Oil in the 70 dollar range would definitely not be good for North Dakota Drilling.

Confidential wells page is alive

I’ve been working on it for about a week, and I think I finally have it working.

Ultimately, I would like it to show the wells that recently came off the confidential list, but that is harder than it sounds. For now it will provide data for wells that are about to come off the confidential list.

Basically the page provides the functions that you would have if you were to transfer the confidential list from the NDIC into excel.


Major upgrade to the rigs page data. The data source table is now searchable and sortable. It is thousands of lines of code, but most of it is freely available so it is just a matter of making it work with wordpress.

Let me know if you have any problems with page alignment. The chagnes looked alight on ie and chrome, but firefox had a little trouble with some screen resolutions.


The community portion of this site never really took off. I will probably leave it alone because the platform is better than anything else available for the Bakken, but people use what they are most comfortable with. The Bakken the Google Group is the most used resource, and this site was unable to sway people away from it simply by providing a better environment.  Perhaps the google group will go down someday and people will find their way here.

The near term path forward will focus on data mining state, provincial, and corporate websites and provide data that is more useful than it is in its raw format. I will try to provide something that is easier to read and understand.

I am limited by time so we will see what I manage to come up with.

If you have anything you have to look up or data you have to manipulate on a regular basis let me know, and I may try to incorporate it into this site.

Back Again

The rigs page is alive again, and I got rid of the spammers for now. Improvements may be coming, but I time probably won’t be on my side.

Brigham Exploration Better Late Than Never

I haven’t been living under a rock I was just too busy to get to this earlier today. An I wanted a little time for more information to surface.

Norway’s Statoil has a 4.7 billion dollar cash offer to purchase Brigham Exploration (bexp) for 36.50 a share which seems like a good price until you realize that it works out to about $12,500 an acre which is not too far off from what a landowner could expect in royalty payments over the lifespan of a good well.

“The Brigham Exploration Company board of directors has unanimously recommended to its shareholders that they accept the offer.” and… It sounds like they plan to keep all of Brigham’s employees so it is probably a good deal for everyone who works at the company.

My personal feeling is that the only ones getting screwed are the stock holders because the stock price would have probably gotten over 36.50 a share this year anyway, but as it stands everyone still made some money so maybe it is OK.

I have a feeling this acquisition may be the first many significant buys in the Williston Basin.

The ripples caused by the news influenced some other in other small company’s around the basin.  It almost looked like people were taking their gains and moving strait into Oasis which I think may also be on someones acquisition list.

Here is what Statoil has up on their site regarding the potential acquisition.

Local Mirror

A shift of Hubbert’s Peak

Article regarding the shift of Hubbert’s Peak largely backed by North Dakota data.

Community Based Site

At a great expense to any search engine rank we had attained, we decided the world had enough blog sites dedicated to the Bakken, and this site can better serve the world as a community.

Please join the forum and let others know what is going on around the Williston Basin.

The blog will continue to be used for static content, but the forum is a better way to spread information.

Website will get restructured

The web site will get drastically restructured over the next few weeks/days.  I will try to fix the rigs page so that it counts again. (may not be easy)


Thoughts go out to those involved with the Cyclone 18 Rig Fire.

Cyclone 18 Rig Fire from freeway rest area

Cyclone 18 Rig Fire from freeway rest area

 Page 1 of 3  1  2  3 »