In April 2008, the U.S. GEOLOGIC SURVEY RAISED ITS ESTIMATES OF RECOVERABLE OIL RESERVES in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana. THE FIGURES, AS HIGH AS 4.3 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL, REPRESENTED ABOUT A 2,400% INCREASE OVER EARLIER ESTIMATES.
Less than three years later, production in the Bakken is booming and the estimates of recoverable reserves are soaring anew as new technology opens up shale plays in the region and across the country.
Jeff Hume is president and chief operating officer of Continental Resources (CLR), the top pro ducer in the Bakken. HE CONTENDS THAT THE BAKKEN HOLDS AS MUCH AS 24 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL that can be recovered with current technology. That's at the high end of current estimates. If true, it would be about a 500% increase over USGS's 2008 estimate.
The oil at Bakken (not yet all recoverable) is enormous. This is very good news.
In the meantime: Fracking is safe and effective
In January, THE DOCUMENTARY GASLAND WON A SPECIAL JURY PRIZE AT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL. The documentary ATTACKED THE PROCESS OF “FRACKING,” which involves pumping a solution that is 99 percent sand and water, plus a few trace chemicals, underground at high pressure. This creates fractures in the rock formations that allow oil and gas to flow to collection points. THE FILM CLAIMED THAT THE PROCESS POLLUTES GROUNDWATER WITH DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES…
MULTIPLE EPA STUDIES HAVE SHOWN FRACKING IS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, but the propaganda effort got the attention of congress. In March, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., held hearings on whether the practice should be federally regulated rather than regulated at the state level. After issuing subpoenas to eight energy companies, Waxman dropped the probe.
NOW FRACKING IS BEING DEFENDED BY A VERY UNLIKELY SOURCE — THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND, one of the biggest and most active environmental non-profits in the country. Appearing on the Energy and Environment program “On Point” EDF Senior Policy Advisor was utterly dismissive of the concerns about fracking:
More good news regarding energy.