Finding Black Gold in North Dakota: The next US economic frontier
The Gold Rush of the mid 19th century helped shape our country, and in many ways, contributed in building the western United States to what it is today. Americans have always strived to go forth and explore new horizons when it comes to business and industry. The oil industry is no different. And domestically produced oil has been a great source of business for many in the US west and southwest. In the past 30 years, however, domestic oil production has dried up to a degree. While there are many reasons for this (imports, infrastructure, supply, etc.), one thing’s for certain, the domestic oil and energy industry isn’t what it used to be. That is, until the discovery of oil in the North Dakota section of the Bakken.
What is the Bakken?
The Bakken Formation is a massive rock formation that occupies about 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. While it was first documented and discovered for oil around 60 years ago, mass extraction and drilling didn’t start until recently. The main reason for this is technology, especially in regards to fracking, which is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
Since this technology emerged as both a viable, and profitable option, the rush to acquire property, extract oil, and staff the rigs has been fast and furious. As of 2013, the Bakken produced more than ten percent of all US oil production. In November 2013, the US Energy Information Administration projected that Bakken production in North Dakota and Montana would exceed one million barrels per day in December 2013. As a result of the Bakken, North Dakota as of 2013 is the second largest oil-producing state in the US, behind only Texas in volume of oil produced. These are impressive numbers, considering that peak production hasn’t even been reached yet. It’s a booming job market for laborers, and has major potential for smart, and efficient companies to make major profits extracting.
Breaking new ground in the fertile US plains
Not surprisingly, the so-called “black gold rush” in North Dakota has prompted a flood of energy companies and investors to move in, in order to stake their claim for future profits. But not all companies are doing it well. In order to drill in the Bakken you need to be innovative, and willing to test new technologies and procedures to make the most out of your investment, while being efficient with your output. One of the companies that is leading the charge of energy innovation in the region is Black Ridge Oil & Gas (ANFC).
Black Ridge Oil & Gas controls approximately 10,000 net acres in the Bakken and Three Forks in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. The 2013 US Geological Survey assessment estimated that there are 3.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Bakken Formation and an additional 3.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Three Forks Formation. Black Ridge Oil & Gas has also participated in drilling over 230 Bakken or Three Forks wells in North Dakota and Montana since 2010 and continues to acquire acreage in the region.
Black Ridge has an aggressive land acquisition strategy, and is currently growing its 10,000+ net acre area at a rapid pace. They are also staying ahead of the pack by utilizing the latest technology in horizontal liquid drilling, keeping them efficient, and on the cutting edge of industry standards. They are in a great position to grow even further, and with the rapid growth of the region, the time window to do so is now. The Bakken oil rush is still in its beginnings, believe it or not, and could be the domestic energy solution that will boost the US economy for a number of years to come.