North Dakota, a Portrait of an Oil Boom

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North Dakota’s oil boom has been called everything from the region’s equivalent of a gold rush, to its version of Silicon Valley. And it’s all thanks to a the Bakken formation, a 360 million year old shale tectonic plate sitting underneath much of the northwestern part of the state, which is thought to hold around 18 billion barrels of oil.

But the good times have not come without a price: The state has run up against a serious shortage of housing for the thousands who have poured in looking for work. The method of extracting the oil is controversial, too. Hydraulic Fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is the bête noire of many environmentalists nationwide. The process sees workers inject pressurized fluid into the ground in order to release natural gas from the shale.

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5 comments
JackMadison
JackMadison

It will be delicious watching America fall.

PennyMelko
PennyMelko

Stop polluting the planet you turds. 99% of the scientists in the world have spoken, written peer reviewed papers and the people are dying of cancers from oil, yet Obama, Congress and the corporations who's butts they're kissing have not stopped. One day the people will be forced to stop these monsters by whatever means is necessary. I hope it's in my lifetime so I can participate.

ndborn
ndborn

@PennyMelko ok produce your own power food clothing transportation and give up your smart phone job house etc. You want to really participate then move out here to North Dakota and feed yourself with no support and no connection to the "grid" P.S. you don't get any high tech cold weather gear their all hydocarbon based. I have lived in this state for my whole life and winter here is fun kinda like see who can do 40 below the longest without freezing to death. F*** off don't come here and don't judge something you know nothing about. Actually would love to see you up here around January of next year with no petro based gear/housing. I'm betting between 2 to 4hours for fatal hypothermia. Whanna come up and play?

blurtonjoe
blurtonjoe

@PennyMelko plastic at landfills put more hydrocarbons into the earth than any oil well does. Wells are contained within a lined pit, if they do leak it is contained. Plastics on the other hand are just dumped into the ground.

UniverseWeAre
UniverseWeAre

The Bakken boom is almost over. Production from North Dakota is set to peak in the next few years and the boom will be bust.

The number of producing wells has to increase by more than 3% per month just to keep production flat. Production has been screaming for the past few years so it is obvious the number of producing wells is growing far faster than 3%. (Source: Official Bakken Report released in late 2012)

When we know how fast something is growing it is embarrassingly easy to calculate how long it will take for the thing to double in size. Simply divide 70 by the growth rate and you know how long it will take to double.

A little under half of the Bakken in North Dakota has been drilled so it can only handle one more doubling before the drilling must come to an end. (Source: http://shalebubble.org/the-map/ )

If we assume that the number of producing wells will only grows at 3% per month then we can calculate that the entire oil field will be drilled within 23 months. (70/3 = 23.333).

The growth rate is obviously higher than 3% since production is still climbing. Given that we can conclude that the Bakken Boom will go Bust in less than two years.

A single Bakken well costs between $6-$10 Million. Over its 29 year lifetime that single well will produce roughly 550,000 barrels of oil.

The world consumes more oil than that in 10 minutes. The United States uses more than that in a single hour.

Plan ahead... Plant a garden...


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