U.S. to re-assess large oil formation

May 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- A 2008 estimate of recoverable oil and gas in an important domestic petroleum resource in North Dakota and Montana will be updated, federal officials say.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Thursday the U.S. Geological Survey will update its estimate of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas in the U.S. portion of the Bakken Formation, a Department of the Interior release reported.

"We must develop our resources armed with the best science available, and with wells drilled in the Bakken during the past three years, there is significant new geological information," Salazar said. "With ever-advancing production technologies, this could mean more oil could potentially be recovered in the formation."

The 2008 USGS assessment estimated 3 billion to 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the U.S. portion of the formation, elevating it to a "world-class" accumulation.

The 2008 Bakken estimate was larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS, the release said.

"The new scientific information presented to us from technical experts clearly warrants a new resource assessment of the Bakken," USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce said.

"The new information is significant enough for the evaluation to begin sooner than it normally would. It is important to look at this resource and its potential contribution to the national energy portfolio."

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