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No end in sight for Bakken oil boom

Aug. 6, 2012 at 8:21 AM

BISMARCK, N.D., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The oil boom in North Dakota shows no signs of letting up though there's not much pipeline infrastructure to handle the production, an official said.

Oil production in North Dakota has increased every year for the past four years. Much of the production is from the lucrative Bakken formation.

Lynn Helms, who directs the mineral resources department in North Dakota, told the Platts news service there was no end in sight for the oil boom North Dakota.

"We're seeing back-to-back 5 percent increases in production," he said. "And we've got 35,000 wells left to drill in this Bakken reserve."

He said it would likely take nearly two decades to develop the play completely. There's not enough pipeline infrastructure, however, to transport Bakken crude to refineries.

"We're going to need rail (for deliveries) for probably a decade," he said.

The Association of American Railroads estimates that around 241,000 rail tankers hauled crude oil and petroleum production during the first six months of 2012, a 38 percent increase from the previous year.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer told The Washington Post in July that he managed to pressure TransCanada to agree to make concessions for Bakken crude through a so-called on ramp to the Keystone XL pipeline, however. Part of the formation lies in his state.

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