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Bakken oil estimates increased

by Adam Wilmoth Published: April 30, 2013

The U.S. Geological Survey on Tuesday more than doubled its estimate of recoverable oil in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana.

Oklahoma City oilman Harold Hamm still thinks the number is far too low.

The government now says the world’s fastest-growing oilfield likely holds about 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil that can be recovered with today’s technology.

The number is 49 times more than its 1995 forecast of 151 million barrels of recoverable oil. By 2008 the geological survey revised its estimate to 3.7 million barrels.

Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. was one of the first developers in the area and now has a hand in about 20 percent of the wells drilled so far.

Continental Resources in 2010 estimated the field contains 24 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil out of 577 billion barrels of total oil in place.

Last year, the company bumped up its total oil estimate by 56 percent to 903 billion barrels.

Continental Resources and other producers in the area are now producing oil from at four different rock layers and continue to improve drilling techniques in the area.

“The Bakken continues to get bigger, as large fields around the world have always done,” Rick Bott, Continental’s president and chief operating officer, said at the company’s investors day in October.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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