I’m among the business people anxiously awaiting the federal government’s updated estimate of recoverable oil and gas reserves in the Bakken Formation.
The Department of Interior announced in 2011 that the U.S. Geological Survey would conduct a new assessment of underground resources in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. I wish they would take a look at northwestern South Dakota, too.
In 2008, the USGS estimated there were 3 billion to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, recoverable oil in the U.S. portion of the Bakken.
The estimate total for the Bakken was larger than that of any other formation in the lower 48 states. Even so, a lot of private business people and public officials in the region expect that the new estimate to be even higher.
The new study was scheduled to begin in October 2011 and take two years to complete. No specific completion date has been announced. The USGS says only that “the study is expected to be completed in 2013, depending on budget availability.”
Ed Murphy, state geologist in North Dakota, says the N.D. Department of Mineral Resources has been helping USGS gather data, but that the final estimate will be “100 percent” a federal assessment. The state also does estimates.
Here’s a link to a USGS website that answers general questions about the USGS assessment of the Bakken resources: