Blood & Oil, & Shale?

Originally called The Bakken, the tv show Blood & Oil, while fiction, focuses on a very real thing. The Bakken Shale play in North Dakota.  The Bakken Shale ranks as one of the largest oil developments in the U.S. in the past 40 years. The play has single-handedly driven North Dakota’s oil production to levels four times higher than previous peaks in the 1980s. As of 2012, ND is second to Texas in terms of oil production and boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the country at ~3%.


The Bakken Shale Play is located in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota, as well as parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the Williston Basin. Oil was initially discovered in the Bakken play in 1951, but was not commercial on a large scale until the past ten years.


The advent of modern horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing helps make Bakken oil production economic. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the Bakken Shale Formation could yield 4.3 billion barrels of oil and estimates from Continental Resources stretch as high as 40 billion barrels. The name “Bakken” originates from a North Dakota farmer, Henry Bakken, who owned the land where the first well encountered the Bakken formation.


While Billy, Cody & Hap try to make it big on the show, the companies that are at the top in real life are; Whiting Petroleum,  Continental Resources, Hess Corporation, EOG Resources & Statoil ASA.


Like the show, Boomtown USA has it fair share of ups & downs. The mass influx of jobs & infrastructure has caused some problems. One major concern in the Bakken is flaring, which is when gases are burned off at the well site. You’ll see flares at just about every well pad. A new report from Ceres revealed that one third of the gas drillers find is being flared off. The air quality has diminished greatly. Also while all the jobs are a great boost to the economy that many people puts a strain on the area. From man camps to almost constant road construction, big industry often brings big problems.


Present Day, Bakken is still going somewhat strong. Production, rig count & revenue for North Dakota is all down. However the impact of Shale Oil and the boost it brought will be felt in North Dakota for years to come.


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