Only when gas hit $4.00 a gallon was there increased interest in the Bakken field.


by Phyllis

I've known about this oil field for quite some time. The problem however is that the oil is in shale and not only difficult but costly to extract. Environmentalists have nothing to do with it but seem to get the blame anyway. Only when gas hit $4.00 a gallon was there increased interest in the Bakken field. Now that prices dropped, it is no longer certain to be a big money-maker.  I found the following paragraph in an article on the Bakken oil field:

Although operators and the USGS have known about the resource potential of the Bakken Formation for many years, several factors made it very difficult to produce these resources. Early drilling in the Bakken Formation targeted the shale members. Success in these efforts hinged on connecting conventional vertical wellbores with an existing natural fracture system while not ruining the wellbore in the process with introduced drilling fluids. The shale itself is highly reactive with water and swells when exposed to it, which can seal off a productive fracture system. Also, the Bakken Formation contains iron pyrite within its sediments. This mineral forms an iron hydroxide precipitate (Figure 9 [see original document]) when exposed to hydrochloric acid, and there are reported cases of this phenomenon causing irreparable well damage. These challenges reduced the likelihood of success and discouraged most operators from trying to produce oil from the Bakken.

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