200+ Billion Barrels of Oil underneath North Dakota

According to Next Energy News, maybe as many as 500 Billion Barrels of Oil are sitting in the Bakken Formation underneath North Dakota. Even if the deposit is only 200 Billion Barrels it is still the biggest known deposit in the world. If it is 500 Billion, it gives the US the largest deposits in the world by a big margin.


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13 responses to “200+ Billion Barrels of Oil underneath North Dakota

  1. I heard about that today on the radio. Awesome! The only trouble is, the people who want us to get off Saudi oil are the same people who will prevent us from getting at it. Ugh. Have a great weekend!

  2. It’s a big deal all right! From the further reading I did on the Bakken Formation it is possible that only 10% of the oil can be recovered with current techniques. That would be about 40 bbl from the most likely 400 bbl in the field, still tripling current US reserves. Combine that with the ANWR field that is 95 bbl with 30-50% recoverable for a usable reserve of another 40 bbl, it would provide enough oil for the US to survive with supply shocks from OPEC and Venezuela.

  3. Add to that huge shale oil deposits in Colorado and the Israeli technique patented last year for economically (at $40/barrel) extracting shale oil and…

    Then of course, there are other ready-to-go energy technologies, like the modular pebble bed reactor that MIT has released into the public domain.

    Thermal Depolymerization (like the “turkey guts” plant in Carthage, Missouri).

    Solar enegy. No, not huge solar farms, space-based arrays and microwave trasnmission to earth (yeh, it’s possible with nearly off-the-shelf technology, right now).

    There are all kindsa options available, but not without some serious political changes, like, oh, I don’t know, running all the politicians *spit* out of town (any town, anywhere) and putting all the eco-nutsos on a reserve somewhere where they can all go back to nature (really: making compost of themselves). To start.

  4. Wikipedia has a nice article about this at

    Note that with unconventional sources we cannot get too excited about the size of the deposit (all those zeros!). While important over the long-term, the key practical issues concern production *rates.*

    This is easy to see when looking at Canada’s bitumen mining (aka “oil sands”), where in 20 years – with massive investments — production might reach 5 million b/day (but might not).

    Or the kerogen deposits of Colorodo (aka oil shale), which after billions of dollars spent over 20 years have a production rate of zero.

    The story about the Israeli patent is interesting, but there have been many equally interesting in the past that failed. The $40/b number is probably absurdly low. New bitumen mines in Alberta have higher costs (initial investment plus operating costs).

  5. Of course, liberals will have 1000 reasons why we can access this oil.


    As the world’s original oil fields were developed by American oil companies, now once again high tech is used to find, develop and recover both old oil fields and new discoveries will lead the pack. I know for a fact that China and middle east countries are not allowed to have the latest technologies for finding and recovering oil. This means the hidden, hard to find, oil fields will only be found by countries very friendly to the USA. These days, you can ALMOST count those on one hand. Obama and Hillary, vote today, not in 6 months, to open Anwar to reduce prices this summer. The voters are watching you two windbags talk crap everyday.

  7. How real is this?…or is this just meant to give us false hope that we won’t be paying $7 /gallon for gas in the near future. If true, then why does it always seem that its at least 10 years away. I’m just not sure I want to get my hopes high.

  8. Hi Mike,
    I intended to do a follow-up post but the job got in the way. The revised estimates are 1% of these estimates with 3.5bbl the new popular number. Still a big field, but not this big. Something seems fishy in such a large swing though. Probably a comparison of apples to oranges.

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  11. I think the way to cut the price of oil is to change the regulations on commodity futures to require a higher margin. If speculators had to shell out more of their own money to buy oil they wouldn’t buy so much at such high prices.

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  13. what myths have been spread!! only 4.3 billion barrels of oil was found to be available in the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana, using current technology as of 04/10/2008.
    This means we have enough oil in in the Bakken shale formation to last the U.S. only 2-3 months based on the current consumption of 27 billion barrels of annual usage.