The Bakken Shale: A New Horizon
North Dakota’s Bakken Shale has gained significant attention in the past few years, and recent recoverable oil estimates have sparked interest on a national level. Estimates reveal that three to four billion barrels of oil are recoverable through the use of enhanced drilling technology. This presents a promising opportunity for ambitious operators and allows the United States to slowly reduce their reliance on foreign oil.
Operators use horizontal drilling to recover these expansive reserves. Drilling deep within the earth, operators can now angle the direction of their drill bit and move laterally to access new locations.
Fracking techniques are used to fracture the formation and allow oil to flow more freely. High volumes of pressurized water, sand, and chemicals are then pumped through the pipe to aid this process. This can dramatically increase the volume of oil recovered.
As with most endeavors, complications arise. In the past, horizontal drilling and fracking techniques have posed environmental problems.…