Dorgan calls for re-evaluation of recoverable oil in Bakken formationA retiring North Dakota senator is calling upon the United States Geological Survey to re-evaluate the Bakken formation, saying it could consist of additional formations.
By: Lisa Anne Call, The Dickinson Press
DICKINSON, N.D. - A retiring North Dakota senator is calling upon the United States Geological Survey to re-evaluate the Bakken formation, saying it could consist of additional formations.
Sen. Byron Dorgan is requesting the USGS revisit its original study of the Bakken formation — a study that identified about 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, the largest assessment ever made in the lower 48 states, according to a press release from Dorgan’s office.
USGS’ assessment of the Bakken included the Three Forks and Sanish formations — which run through southwest North Dakota — as one continuous formation, Dorgan said.
But, that may not be the case.
“Over a period of many months, there are companies and people who are involved in the oil enterprise or oil drilling in western North Dakota who have told me their experience tells them there’s something more than just the Bakken and that there are distinct formations, they believe, other than the Bakken,” Dorgan said. “As you know there are a number of interests, Continental is one, and some others who believe that their drilling experience tells them something different and I think given that’s the case and given the fact there’s much, much more experience now and more information from these companies, it’d be useful for the USGS to go back and take a new look.”
The state’s oil patch now accounts for about 6 percent of total nationwide crude oil production — up from 1 percent less than three years ago, according to The Associated Press.
And a reassessment, if more oil is identified, could mean big things for the area.
Dorgan cites the USGS’ formal assessment on recoverable oil as “kind of the good housekeeping seal of approval” as it is viewed worldwide.
“If they conclude based on drilling experiences and other evidence that there are other formations that would enhance the amount that is recoverable, obviously it will continue to boost additional activities in the region,” Dorgan said.
However, the USGS does not plan a response anytime soon.
“The USGS is looking into the new info/data that the senator has but won’t have anything definitive to say in the immediate future,” said USGS Media Affairs Specialist Heidi Koontz, according to an e-mail.
Calls to Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, went unreturned.
The Dickinson Press and the Herald are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.