In this week's news, North Dakota's Department of Natural Resources director predicts larger well pads in the Bakken, and a study shows U.S. oil reserves have surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia

North Dakota’s top oil regulator says he expects to see mega-pads get even larger in the state as companies figure out how to get the most oil out of the Bakken.

Hess Corp. has the Bakken’s largest well pad with 18 wells on a single location and regulators have already permitted a few larger multi-well pads, including one from Continental Resources that will have 25 wells on it.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources says on average a single-well pad takes up 3.35 acres. However, consolidating 18 or more wells on a pad can shrink that impact to less than 1 acre per well.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

Study Shows U.S. Oil Reserves Surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia

A new study by Rystad Energy says the U.S. holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, marking the first time it has surpassed the world’s biggest exporting nations.

The company estimates recoverable oil in the U.S. from existing fields, discoveries and yet undiscovered areas amounts to 264 billion barrels. The figure surpasses Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion and Russia’s 256 billion in reserves.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Shifting Focus

The analysis of 60,000 fields worldwide, conducted over three years by Rystad Energy, shows total global oil reserves at 2.1 trillion barrels.

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