Ummm...maybe we can drill our way out of this

You don't hear too much talk about the Bakken field from democrats these days. I wonder why? Could it be because of this:

...Best of all, the Bakken could be huge. The Geological Survey's Leigh Price, a Denver geochemist who died of a heart attack in 2000, estimated that the Bakken might hold 413 billion barrels. If so, it would dwarf Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, the world's biggest field, which has produced about 55 billion barrels.

The challenge is getting the oil out. Bakken crude is locked 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) underground in a layer of dolomite, a dense mineral that doesn't surrender oil the way more porous limestone does. The dolomite band is narrow, too, averaging just 22 feet (7 meters) in North Dakota.

The USGS said in April that the Bakken holds as much as 4.3 billion barrels that can be recovered using today's engineering techniques. That's a fraction of the oil that Price said should be there, but it's still the largest accumulation of crude in the 48 contiguous U.S. states...

Back in 1995 USGS took a look at Bakken and their estimate of recoverable oil at the time was 1/25th what they now say it is.
A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10, shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency's 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil...

...The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS...

I'll leave it as an exercise for the readers to research who was president in 1995.

General extent of the Bakken field:

Lands under federal administration: CLICK HERE

Posted by: Purp at 01:11 PM


1 Obviously it was Bush, who was proactive in his attempt at boosting the price of oil so that his buddies in Texas and Saudi Arabia could make "obscene profits."

Posted by: iamnotachef at June 16, 2008 01:16 PM (nwJit)

2 I'll bet the North Dakotans would be very happy to allow drilling there. Too bad congress is full of idiots who know what's better for us than we do.

Posted by: cranky-d at June 16, 2008 01:17 PM (Kj/hR)

3 I thought Dolomite was a pimp!

Posted by: Ruprect at June 16, 2008 01:18 PM (vnL7t)

4 But Obama and McCain want to slap confiscatory taxes on the evil oil companies! That will bring gas prices down, right?

Posted by: Log Cabin at June 16, 2008 01:20 PM (j7zrD)

5 Dammit, Ruprect, you beat me to it!

Posted by: tmi3rd at June 16, 2008 01:21 PM (WG2sq)

6 We could drill, but do we really want tocorrupt the pristine and rare ecosystem that typifies North Dakota with our oil grubbing ways? [snicker]

Posted by: Lee at June 16, 2008 01:22 PM (+kJAy)

7 Way down in the jungle deep,

The bad ass lion stepped on the signifyin monkey's feet.

The monkey said, "Muthafucka, can't you see?

Why, you standin on my goddamn feet!"

The lion said, "I ain't heard a word you said."

Said, "If you say three more I'll be steppin on yo muthafuckin head!"

Now, the monkey lived in the jungle in an old oak tree.

Bullshittin the lion everyday of the week.

Why, everyday before the sun go down,

The lion would kick his all through the jungle town.

But the monkey got wise and started usin his wit.

Said, "I'm gon' put a stop to this ole ass kickin shit!"

So he ran up on the lion the very next day.

Said, "Oh Mr. lion, there's a big, bad muthafucka comin your way.

And when you meet, it's gonna be a goddamn sin,

And wherever you meet some ass is bound to bend."

Said, "he's somebody that you don't know,

He just broke a-loose from the Ringlin Brother's show."

Said, "Baby, he talked about your people in a helluva way!

He talked about your people till my hair turned gray!

He said your daddy's a freak and your momma's a whore.

Said he spotted you running through the jungle sellin asshole from door to door!

Said your sister did the damndest trick.

She got down so low and sucked a earthworm's dick.

Said he spotted yo niece behind the tree,

Screwin a muthafuckin flea!

He said he saw yo aunt sittin on the fence

Givin a goddamn zebra a french.

Then he talked about yo mammy and yo sister Lou,

Then he start talkin about how good yo grandmaw screw.

Said yo sister's a prostitute and yo brother's a punk,

And said I'll be damned if you don't eat all the pussy you see every time you get drunk!

He said he cornholed your uncle and fucked your aunty and niece,

And next time he see yo grandmaw he gonna get him another good piece.

Said your brother died with the whoopin cough and your uncle died with the measles

And your old grandpaw died with a rag chunked up in his ass, said he's goin on home to Jesus.

And you know yo little sister that ya love so dear

I fucked her all day for a bottle of beer.

So, Mr. Lion, you know that ain't right.

Whenever you meet the elephant be ready to fight."

So the lion jumped up in a helluva rage!

Like a young cocksucker full of gage.

He let out a roar!

Tail shot back like a forty-four.

He went through the jungle knockin down trees,

Kickin giraffes to their knees.

The he ran up on the elephant talkin to the swine.

He said, "All right you big, bad muthafucka. It's gonna be yo ass or mine."

The elephant looked at him outta the corner of his eyes.

Said, "Alright go ahead home you little funny-bunny muthafucka and pick on somebody your own size.

The lion jumped up and made a fancy pass.

The elephant side-stepped him and kicked him dead in his ass.

He busted up his jaw, fucked up his face.

Broke all four legs, snatched his ass outta place.

He picked him up, slammed him to the tree.

Nothin but lion shit as far as you could see.

He pulled out his nuts, rolled em in the sand.

And kicked his ass like a natural man!

They fought all night and all the next day.

Somehow the lion managed to get away.

But he drug his ass back to the jungle more dead than alive.

Just to run into that little monkey and some more of his signifying jive!

The monkey looked at him and said, "Goddamn ole partner, you don't look so swell."

Said, "Look like to me you caught a whole lotta hell."

Said, "Yo eyes is all red and yo asshole is blue,

I knew in the beginning it wasn't shit to you.

There's one thing you and me gotta get straight

Cause you one ugly cocksucker I sure do hate!

Now, when you left, the jungle rung

Now you bring yo dog ass back here damn near hung.

Look muthafucka, ain't you a bitch!

Yo face look like you got the Seven Year Itch!

I told my wife before you left,

I should kicked yo ass my muthafuckin self!

Why I seen you when he threw you into that tree,

Cause some of that ole lion shit got on me!

Why every night when me and my wife is tryin to get a little bit,

Here you come around here with some that old "I owe" shit!

Shut up! Don't you roar!

Cause I'll bail outta this tree and whoop yo dog-ass some more!

And don't look up here with yo sucka-paw case.

Cause I'll piss through the bark of this tree in yo muthafuckin face!"

The monkey got happy, started jumpin up and down.

His feet missed the limb and his ass hit the ground.

Like a streak of lighting and a ball of white heat,

That lion was on his ass with all four feet.

Dust rolled and tears came into the little monkey's eyes,

The little monkey said, "Look Mr. Lion, I apologize!"

Said, "If you let me get my nuts out the sand,

I'll fight yo ass like a natural man!

Look muthafucka, ain't you a bitch, you ain't raisin no hell,

Cause everybody saw you jump on me after I slipped and fell."

Said, "If you'll fight like men should

I'd whoop yo ass all over these woods!"

This made the lion mad!

It was the boldest challenge he ever had.

He squared off for the fight,

But that little monkey jumped damn near outta sight!

Landed waaay up in a banana tree and began to grin.

Sayin, "Look here you big, bad muthafucka, you been bullshitted again!

Why, I'll take me one of these bananas,

And whoop on yo ass till it sing the Star Spangled Banner!"

And said, "If you ever mess with me again,

I'm gonna send you back to my elephant friend!"

Said, "The things I told you will never part,

But what I'm gonna tell you know will break yo muthafuckin heart!"

Your mammy ain't no good and yo sister's been a whore"

Said, "I had that bitch on the corner for a year or more!"

But the lion looked up with a helluva frown.

Roared so loud that little monkey fell back to the ground.

The little monkey looked up and said "Please, Mr. Lion! Please don't take my life!

Cause I got thirteen kids and a very sickly wife!"

Said, "All of my money to you I'll give, Mr. Lion,

Please just let me live!"

But the lion kicked him in his ass and broke his neck,

Left that little monkey in a helluva wreck.

The monkey looked to the sky,

With tears in his eyes.

Nothin he could see or nothin he could hear,

But he knew that it was the end of his bulllshittin and signifyin career!

Posted by: tachyonshuggy at June 16, 2008 01:24 PM (TXp3z)

8 Too bad congress is full of idiots who know what's better for us than we do.

STFU, you chickensh!t. I know more about oil production than anyone in this room!

Posted by: John McManBearPig at June 16, 2008 01:25 PM (PLvLS)

9 Hmmm. Kate B's butt in one story, drilling in another....

I'll be in my bunk watching the Last Days of Disco

Posted by: Holdfast at June 16, 2008 01:25 PM (Gzb30)

10 Sorry tmi,
All we need to do issnatch Dolomite's pimp cane and we'll be pumping oil in no time!

Posted by: Ruprect at June 16, 2008 01:25 PM (vnL7t)

11 You have no idea how jazzed I was to find out that dolomite is a real mineral. I always thought it was a joke metal like "adamantium" or "unobtanium".

Posted by: leoncaruthers at June 16, 2008 01:30 PM (7iTO9)

12 estimated that the Bakken might hold 413 billion barrels.

Ummm...what the fuck are we waiting for? We could make OPEC our bitch if we wanted to.

Posted by: EC at June 16, 2008 01:31 PM (mAhn3)

13 In 1995 the price of oil was less than 20 dollars per barrel. I will leave it to others to post who was President at that time.
Congress does not control drilling on private lands.
The number of oil rigs now drilling is higher than at any time in the last 20 years.
At this time the Federal (highway) tax represents about 5% of what you pay at the pump.

Posted by: John Ryan at June 16, 2008 01:32 PM (TcoRJ)

At this time the Federal (highway) tax represents about 5% of what you pay at the pump.

No shit. Oil, however, is taxed every time it changes hands, which is about 17 times between coming out of the ground and being pumped into your gas tank. By the time it's there, you're looking at about 40% of the pump price being taxes paid on it by everyone who's processed it up to that point and the cut the State and Fed government get.



Posted by: leoncaruthers at June 16, 2008 01:36 PM (7iTO9)

15 I'll leave it as an exercise for the readers to research who was president in 1995.
Millard Fillmore?

Posted by: Steve L. at June 16, 2008 01:40 PM (o0YD+)

16 I declare the start of Operation OPEC-Bitchmaker! Who's with me?

Posted by: EC at June 16, 2008 01:42 PM (mAhn3)

17 ryan, you are an ass of the highest order. And yes, that is a statement roughly as obvious as "the sun is hot".
"Congress does not control drilling on private lands"....
They control drilling in ANWR. They control drilling off shore. They control the oil shale reserves.
Additionally- they most certainly control whether or not and where refineries are built. That in turn has a huge impact on the amount of gasoline available. As you have demonstrated a complete lack of understanding economic fundamentals - this means less gas, this means higher price. This means yet again, a dnc controlled congress sux ass.
"The federal highway tax represents 5% of what you pay at the pump."
First, cite on this factoid?
Second, I live in Chicago, ryan. What does my local tax represent?
GoodLord you are an annoying little turd, ryan.

Posted by: rojoloco at June 16, 2008 01:42 PM (I/JNA)

18 A soon as they look serious about extracting expensive oil, watch the production from the mideast magically increase to the point that it no longer makes economic sense to extract the expensive oil.

Posted by: cranky-d at June 16, 2008 01:44 PM (Kj/hR)

Congress does not control drilling on private lands.

How much of the Bakken field is on private lands? Please be specific. I already know the answer.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 16, 2008 01:46 PM (c55NW)

20 Don't expect a meaningful response from our favorite drive-by nitwit.
He's still trying to work out the whole supply/demand mystery.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at June 16, 2008 01:50 PM (B+qrE)

21 Why do you morons even bother to engage this Ryan pinhead? You know he's just a drive-by troll/Monica wannabe. You won't change his mind because he has no mind.

Posted by: hhuummbbeerrtt at June 16, 2008 01:52 PM (f7A+e)

22 Jimmy Carter was President...

Posted by: Robert at June 16, 2008 01:53 PM (V+ylD)

23 Cranky, the Saudis are already starting to make noises about increased production. And this makes me suspicious, because the Saudis ruled out production increases just last month, during meetings with Pres. Bush.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at June 16, 2008 01:59 PM (Ds4I5)

24 Looking at the sheer amount of reserves that are in existence around the world, does anyone actually believe that petroleum is actually the result of millions of years of squashed dead dinosaurs and vegetation? I mean, really. I'm not a scientist, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have to say that it seems almost impossible that even over millions of years, there could have beennearly enough dead critter/vegetation remains for compression into the insanely huge amount of petroleum that has been pumped, and remains to be pumped, out of the ground.
Now I'm going to google for scholarly papers on the subject, but I don't expect to be enlightened too much on the topic when next I return.

Posted by: Sharkman at June 16, 2008 01:59 PM (UioS4)

25 Sharkman, there used to be a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, and the world was overall a warmer place and covered in vegetation. That's the theory, anyway, and I'm sure there is probably some decent data to back it up. Also, lots of critters lived (and continue to live of course) in the oceans, which provided additional raw material to make hydrocarbons.

Posted by: cranky-d at June 16, 2008 02:09 PM (Kj/hR)

26 John Ryan, take a tip from Kate. Look for a brain double. I don't even have to see you to know that it is clearly your worst feature and you should never expose it in public.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 16, 2008 02:09 PM (VBon8)

27 Purple Avenger,

When will you let Ryan and the rest of us know the percentage of Bakken is in private hands? As far as public lands, I presume that it is primarily Federal, as most public lands outside of Texas are Federal?

Not being snotty, just inquisitive.

Posted by: David in San Diego at June 16, 2008 02:19 PM (TPWTR)

28 I know a guy that's been working in the Bakken for 20+ years now. He tells me that the amount of recoverable oil is closer to the high estimate but that the idea is to play it down a little bit until the infrastructure to exploit it is in place(pipelines, roads, storage etc). The companies that would be going after it(and they are there already) don't want to commit to a huge investment if the value of the oil will suddenly drop below the cost of extraction. Hell, even the local Indian tribes are planning to build a refinery on tribal land where the EPA can't say shit.....
He says that right now, the way to make money up there is to be building low cost housing for all the oil field workers. Rental properties and services are completely over run.

Posted by: TBinSTL at June 16, 2008 02:20 PM (2vLkB)

29 That oil is under Dolemite!
What are we going to do? Tap him on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me, Mr. Dolemite, please roll over, I want to drill under there."
And then he's gonna say, "You rat-soup eatin mutha-fucka." And stomp me with his Huch Puppies.
No thank you.

Posted by: oops at June 16, 2008 02:30 PM (aKGtn)

30 Some day I'll post something cogent and then not run away afterward.
HA! Just kidding.

Posted by: jOhn ryAn at June 16, 2008 02:35 PM (f7A+e)

31 Sharkman,

Hydrocarbon deposits amount to only a small fraction of the carbon budget of the Earth. Much more carbon is found in biomass, atmospheric CO2 and carbonates.
Plus, the Earth is and old bitch. She has had hundreds of millions of years to makes these deposits and microorganisms that live in rock itself deep in the crust may be continuously making more hydrocarbons.

From the Earth's point of view these deposits are tiny.

Posted by: eman at June 16, 2008 02:43 PM (WWkFI)

32 Fargo! Oil Capital of the World!

Posted by: profligatewaste at June 16, 2008 03:02 PM (4n+vR)

33 "microorganisms that live in rock itself deep in the crust may be continuously making more hydrocarbons"
Ahh, so it could be other critters actively making the stuff. Excellent! I say we kidnap a bunch of them and force them to work for us making oil!
Can you imagine the outcry on the left? "NO KIDNAPPING MICROORGANISMS FOR OIL!"

Posted by: Sharkman at June 16, 2008 03:03 PM (UioS4)

34 Fargo! Oil Capital of the World!

You betcha!

Posted by: eman at June 16, 2008 03:13 PM (WWkFI)

35 Dad, who is a Geologist, says that oil and coal were not exactly made from Dinosaur meat. Atleast not the most of it. There was a time when greats swaths of earth were covered with huge-ass swamps. Vegetation would grow, die, sink to bottom, and new vegetation would grow on top. These layers upon layers of biomass is what morphed into oil and coal.

In the coal mines, he has seen lumps of coal that you could clearly tell were made of trees. You could make out wood-grain, branches, even the vein patterns of the leaves.

Posted by: Tushar at June 16, 2008 03:21 PM (DWXGz)

36 She has had hundreds of millions of
years to makes these deposits and microorganisms that live in rock
itself deep in the crust may be continuously making more hydrocarbons.

You mean like the Sandworms of Arrakis that make Spice?

Holy shit...Shai Hulud! The Great Maker!

Posted by: EC at June 16, 2008 03:26 PM (j2Tjh)

37 Y'all , all gonna by my bitches, now.

Posted by: North Dakota at June 16, 2008 03:39 PM (wiJ0S)

38 No, no Peak oil, dammit PEAK OIL!!!!

Incidentally new research suggests that oil is not caused by ancient forest land but from little critters living in that layer of rock continuously producing oil.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 16, 2008 03:42 PM (0+Ggj)

39 Many moons ago I went on a rant here about the need to combine North and South Dakota. My basic premise was that it was a waste of valuable resources to have two states, neither one of which amounted up to a good sized county, with the name Dakota. I suggested, nay demanded, that henceforth there would be only one state, Dakota, and this north and south crap would be relegated to the scrap heap of history.
Predictably, nobody listened to me. Well, South Dakota, HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW!!! You morons could be partaking in this coming windfall and upgrading to indoor plumbing or getting some vinyl siding for your teepee. But nooo, you needed to stay "independent".
West Virginina, Virginiaand you inbred hicks in the Carolinas take note, the same fate awaits you if you don't act. I'm not saying there is definitely oil under one or the other of you but what's the harm in being safe? In fact, let's combine all those states into one and call it something appropriate like "The State You Pass Through On The Way To Florida."
Scoff if you like but when the gusher comes in next door and you're sitting there holding your schwanz, you will be the new South Dakota. I'm just trying to help.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 16, 2008 03:51 PM (VBon8)

40 I would then assume that much of this land is in Native American hands, based on what TBinSTL is When they start pumping it, I hope they make a ton of money selling us discount oil. It'll be nice to see the price go down if only from the lack of costs from having to ship the bloody stuff halfway around the world. Come on, Congress, you keep dropping the ball. I can create a comprehensive energy plan in a few minutes, and I'm a regular joe.

Open up domestic oil, causes speculators to back off. Lower some taxes on the process while we're at it, or create an incentives package for companies to pump and refine U.S. oil(leads to domestic jobs, too. Fights unemployment, a double whammy). It'll take a few years for everything to get in place in some of these areas, though it sounds like TBinSTL's hinting that some companies are already getting ready to go in Bakken. So we lower the cost now, then pump more U.S. oil into our economy in a few years, driving prices further. Meanwhile, we look into alternate energy sources for the long-term, including these wind and solar power sources all these enviro-friendly Democrats keep claiming are gonna save us all. Personally, I'd like to see more nuclear plants, but maybe that's just me.

Posted by: Ack at June 16, 2008 03:52 PM (DfROI)

41 The Sioux Nation has applied for membership in OPEC. You poor yankee bastards are f**d

Posted by: Sitting Bull at June 16, 2008 04:03 PM (TPRbZ)

42 Yeah I'm fine with tribes drilling and selling it to us. Just as long as they get the work started. The problem is, these states are pretty heavily (and incongruously) in Democrat control which means no drilling til they have a gun to their head.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 16, 2008 04:05 PM (0+Ggj)

43 413 billion? that's chicken feed to the 3 Trillion in the oil shale.

Add in the NG deposit found in PA and I think it's time we start finding out what is under our feet.
Don't forget that the first oil well was drilled in Oil city, PA. There could be as much in PA as in ND.

then you have off shore oil, you have the major uranium mine in Lynchburg VA that the environmentyal wackos won't let us touch.
the lynchburg site, the ND site, the oil shale and the PA formation could give us enough energy for the next 200 years. Throw in the coal, wind and solar and we could be energy independent for the next 500 years easy. With cheap inexpensive energy.

Posted by: unseen at June 16, 2008 04:28 PM (aVGmX)

44 Yeah I'm fine with tribes drilling and selling it to us. Just as long
as they get the work started. The problem is, these states are pretty
heavily (and incongruously) in Democrat control which means no drilling
til they have a gun to their head.

And that's only if they let us KEEP our guns after November.

Posted by: Ack at June 16, 2008 04:29 PM (DfROI)

45 My understanding of the "Abiogenic Theory" of oil genesis isn't that plants and dead things NEVER made oil, only that oil reserves are replenished by modern chemical or biological processes (the critters).

I think the reserves as they are are large enough to make it an academic point.

And, as usual, the politicians are fucking it up for everybody.

Posted by: Merovign at June 16, 2008 05:49 PM (yi5TD)

46 I had an argument with a geologist who claimed that the low estimate for the recoverable oil from the Bakken was more accurate, and that we couldn't extract more than about 1%. I said, "418 billion barrels, at $120 a barrel, is worth about $50Trillion dollars. If you pay me $5 Trillion dollars I'll come up with a way to extract 10%. Promise."

Posted by: George Turner at June 16, 2008 06:35 PM (aNdmF)

47 Technically, it's not really who owns the land, but who owns the mineral rights. I have no idea what the situation is in SD, but I think in some of those states around there the government retained the mineral rights. But whoever owns the mineral rights gets to determine if there will be extraction or not.

Posted by: stace at June 16, 2008 06:55 PM (JO0c/)

48 So that's my question. Who owns the mineral rights in the Bakken?

Posted by: stace at June 16, 2008 06:57 PM (JO0c/)

49 Posted by: Ack at June 16, 2008 03:52 PM (DfROI)
I'll try to get the info on who has the mineral rights on these formations but I don't think that the Tribes have all that much, they are just going to make their nut off processing it. I know that enough is on privately held land that the oil companies are up there going door to door signing contracts with farmers and ranchers. Literally dozens of wells can be drilled from one location because horizontal drilling is not only available but necessary to make these formations viable.

Posted by: TBinSTL at June 16, 2008 07:35 PM (2vLkB)

50 Do not forget that the geological formation is large. It spans parts of 3 US States and at least one Canadian province.
For the left wingnut jobs out there, what we do know about the mineral fuel deposits in the US and its offshore territories is a small fraction of the potential amount because exploration has been stringently (and stupidly) limited since the Carter years.

Posted by: Hank Rearden at June 16, 2008 07:59 PM (tcy4k)

51 I added some images below the fold to show the extent of Bakken and where federal lands are in the USA.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 16, 2008 08:17 PM (c55NW)

52 That's good that the ranchers and farmers are being signed up. That's means they have the mineral rights. A lot of people don't realize that surface ownership has little relationship to subsurface mineral rights. They are separate, in many cases.

Posted by: stace at June 16, 2008 10:39 PM (JO0c/)

53 Also, I hate to say this but john ryan has a point about oil prices in the 90's. If they were that low, than the field wasn't worth producing at those prices. It is now, of course.

Posted by: stace at June 16, 2008 10:41 PM (JO0c/)

54 Possibly, although from a strategic standpoint it makes sense to tap into and ready production in the area even if the prices don't justify it, for the future. That kind of forward thinking would have made today a lot less painful.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 16, 2008 11:15 PM (0+Ggj)

55 That's true, but try to tell the production companies that. Those are some damn expensive holes to drill. It's a very risky business. I knew a guy who've committed suicide in the bust.

Posted by: stace at June 16, 2008 11:32 PM (JO0c/)

56 Sigh....

You know, there was a time in this country when a poor guy could go out hunting, and shoot himself a oil gusher--the next thing you know, he's a millionaire and living pretty in Beverly.

...Hills, that's is. You know, swimming pools, movie stars...

Posted by: cheshirecat at June 16, 2008 11:42 PM (9Gzbz)

57 Black gold, Texas Tea. the good ol' days.

I finally, like, actually read the article. One company alone has leased up 487,000 ac. so there's hopefully a lot more land leased up. Good.

Posted by: stace at June 17, 2008 12:06 AM (JO0c/)

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