Why the Bakken Shale is a major driver of US oil production growth
U.S. oil production
Oil production in the U.S. has been growing for the past several years after having bottomed out in the mid-2000s.
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One of the major drivers of this has been the development of oil resources in North Dakota and Montana. The primary source of this oil production growth has been the Bakken Shale, which is a layer of hydrocarbon-rich rock located in this area. Plus, another formation called the Three Forks, which lies below the Bakken, has also been a source of oil in the area. The Bakken and Three Forks formations are part of the Williston Basin, which is a sedimentary basin situated in areas of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan. The oil and gas industry generally refers to the area as either “the Bakken” or “the Williston” (even if production isn’t necessarily from the Bakken Shale formation). For the purpose of this series, we’ll also refer to the area as such.
Growth in U.S. oil production has been driven primarily by two plays: the Eagle Ford in South Texas and the Bakken Shale in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. So the Bakken has become an area of focus for the oil and gas industry, and it’s considered one of the premier shale plays in the country.
In this series, we’ll provide a brief overview of the major players in the Bakken and discuss the current themes in the play.