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Website Provides Data for Key Oil Play in North Dakota, Eastern Montana

July 19, 2011 - 1:00pm

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Washington, DC - A new web-based geographic information system designed to improve oil production in North Dakota and eastern Montana has been launched with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Bakken Decision Support System (BDSS) assembles data for the Bakken and Three Forks Formations into an application that enables a user to visualize geologic and oil production information.The online tool, called the Bakken Decision Support System (BDSS), assembles data for the Bakken and Three Forks Formations into an application that enables a user to visualize geologic and oil production information. The system was developed by the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center with assistance from the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

The BDSS includes geological properties--such as thickness, depth, structure, and organic content--for the two formations and incorporates analytical tools that allow a user to evaluate and interpret the information. Production data can be used to understand development history and identify "sweet spots" with the best oil production potential.

The website provides the latest newsfeeds about oil and gas activities in the region, and it includes educational materials about petroleum geology and oil and gas development along with supporting publications. Monthly well production data can be downloaded via the BDSS website through a subscription service with the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. Additional well completion data is planned for future release.

Unconventional oil sources such as the Bakken and Three Forks Formations represent a significant frontier for domestic energy development. DOE’s Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook 2011 forecasts domestic production of all unconventional liquids at 1.95 to 5.42 million barrels per day in 2035.

The growth of oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks Formations can be attributed to strong prices coupled with technological developments in multistage hydraulic fracturing and better geologic understanding of the source rocks and surrounding formations. With oil prices expected to hover in the range of $80 to $100 per barrel or more over the next 2 to 3 years, industry is investing in oil and gas production from shale formations.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources predicts that oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks Formations will grow from the current 350,000 barrels per day to more than 700,000 barrels per day in the next 4 to 7 years, surpassing both Alaska’s and California’s production, with Texas remaining the highest oil-producing state. The two formations have produced more than 300 million barrels to date. In North Dakota alone, 2010 production exceeded 85 million barrels.  

 

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