USGS may look at the entire Williston Basin for a new oil estimate

Sep 18, 2017

Mineral resources director Lynn Helms.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

No word yet from the US Geological Survey on whether it will do an updated assessment of the oil in the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and others asked USGS for that reassessment recently. That could lead to more exploration and development in the Bakken.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms saids USGS is now talking about a full Williston Basin-wide assessment in a few years. Helms said some oil investors have told him that might be a better approach.

"What appears to be attracting all the capital to the Permian Basin (Texas) is the excitement about multiple 'shale benches,'" Helms said. "We have that here, too."

Helms said here, nothing has been advertised except the Bakken and Three Forks. He said looking at the other 'benches' offers the opportunity for the Geological Survey to do the rock analysis and temperature analysis.

"That could get some of those other unconventional resource 'benches' on their radar," Helms said.

There's been no official word from USGS.

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