New USGS assessment reveals a greater volume of recoverable oil and gas, and that means more demand for the services you provide.


Our focus at Gas, Oil and Mining Contractor magazine is on you, the contractors who supply the critical services necessary to keep mining and drilling companies operating at capacity.

So, recent news about the United States Geological Survey’s updated oil and gas resource assessment for the Bakken and Three Forks formations is good news for the industry as a whole. It may not impact your bottom line as directly as a large oil company with huge sums of money invested in the area, but it still could have a pretty significant impact on you.

The numbers in the new USGS assessment are encouraging. The assessments found that the formations contain an estimated mean of 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil, which is double the previous estimate.

Related: Williston Continues Growth Plan Even in Downturn

The new Bakken estimate is a mean oil resource of 3.65 BBO, in addition to 3.73 BBO in the Three Forks Formation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, for a total of 7.38 BBO. The assessment represents a significant increase over the mean resource of 3.65 billion barrels of undiscovered Bakken oil estimated in 2008. The inclusion of Three Forks, which lies below the Bakken Formation, is the biggest factor in the substantial increase.

In addition to oil, these two formations are estimated to contain a mean of 6.7 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of undiscovered,
technically recoverable natural gas liquids. That is nearly three times the natural gas and natural gas liquids estimated in the 2008 assessment, due primarily to the inclusion of the Three Forks Formation.

Since the 2008 USGS assessment, more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin, providing updated subsurface geologic data. The Three Forks Formation has long been known to hold oil and gas, but very little data existed on this formation and it was thought too difficult to economically extract the resources. New technology is changing that perspective and has resulted in a new understanding of the reservoir and its resource potential.

Related: Blog: New Assessment Shows Greater Potential for Bakken, Three Forks

Across the country, from North Dakota to Pennsylvania to Texas, vast stores of oil and gas that were long thought too costly to extract are now fueling America’s energy boom, and the many varied support services companies are playing key roles in making it happen.

More resources mean gas and oil companies will expend more time and resources in areas like the Bakken and Three Forks, and that directly translates to more opportunities for companies like your own, providing everything from thermal soil remediation to pressure testing and septic pumping.

So this, obviously, is good news for you. It means the boom will continue and the bust is not as great a fear. More gas and oil means a greater investment in exploration and infrastructure. Investments in exploration will lead to new wells, which will inevitably require more and better roads, housing, utilities and other infrastructure. And all that paints a bright future for well-positioned contractors providing these services.

Related: Bakken Beckons for Housing and Amenities

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