North Dakota has always been thought of as “flyover country.” It’s one of those states that everybody acknowledges, but nobody really thinks about. Recently though, that’s changed. North Dakota is now very much on everyone’s mind, and for one reason: oil.
In 2006, an oil exploration company found “The Bakken Formation” which is a shale formation that stretches across more than 200,000 square miles, making it the largest continuous accumulation of oil the world has ever known. The US Geological Survey estimates that all told, we’ll be able to extract a staggering 7.4 billion barrels of oil out of the formation (250,000 have been extracted so far), and about 7.6 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making this one of the most important energy finds in the country, if not the world.
We’ve known about the oil potential of shale for decades, but only recently has technology advanced to the point that we can take advantage of it. For instance, the “Green River Gorge” area which stretches from Colorado to Utah to Wyoming could potentially hold even more oil than Bakken, but the problem in that region has always been access to a sufficient amount of water to extract the oil. They’d have to drain the Colorado river completely (and then some) to make it work, and of course, no one is willing to do that! Here’s a willing and honest reviews on the best electronic cigarettes in the market, check this out: http://electroniccigarette-brands.net.
So that leaves Bakken, and it’s hard to understate the significance of the find. What has made it possible to get the oil out of the ground there is a process called “Hydraulic Fracturing,” also known as ‘frakking’. Frakking has a less than sterling reputation, and there have been reports of people being able to hold a lighter to the tap water coming out of their sinks and igniting it, thanks to the chemicals leeching into the groundwater thanks to the process, but its effectiveness is undeniable. One need only look at the 1% unemployment in the state, and the state’s impressive $1.6 billion dollar budgetary surplus to get a feel for the positive impacts to the economy of the region, so challenges or no, most people there will tell you that the discovery has been a net positive!