Estimates of recoverable oil in Bakken

Million Dollar Way pulls together three estimates of recoverable oil for Bakken field – Estimates of Bakken Recoverable Oil.

Three data points:

  • 3 billion – this is the official USGS estimate but is from 2008. That has been ‘overtaken by events’ obviously.
  • 6.5 billion – current NDIC estimate, as mentions in a Fox News story – North Dakota Oil Boom Driving Economic Development
  • 24 billion – estimate from Continental Resources – MDW calls this “pushing the envelope”

Here is my comment on the estimates which I posted at the MDW site:

A while back I copied the NDIC’s data for Bakken-only production to a spreadsheet so I could do some analysis and prep my own graphs. Hey, I’m an accountant – we do things like that.  I only copied the data back to ’96 and not ’53, but those monthly amounts are really small, like around 10K per month with a high of 100k for a few months. 

I calculate the total of Bakken-only production at 527,844,985 barrels. Call it 0.5 billion.

At that rate, there is *only* 13 times more oil to extract than has been done to date assuming the NDIC estimate of 6.5B you cite. With Hamm’s suggestion of 24B, there are 48 barrels to go for every one that has been extracted.

(I’m assuming it is appropriate to use a quotation if I’m quoting another blog, even if I wrote the comment. Not sure on that etiquette though)

Whichever estimate you use, the amount of recoverable oil in the ground is a large multiple of what has already been extracted.

Very cool.

The Fox article mentioned above has a good discussion of the challenges the state is having with infrastructure. Check it out.

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