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USGS to perform new Bakken, 3 Forks oil study

BISMARCK (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey says it will perform a new assessment of the Bakken and Three Forks oil formations in North Dakota and Montana.

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar made the announcement Thursday, saying there is "significant new geological information" and new oil drilling technologies since the government did its last study in 2008.

That assessment estimated up to 4.3 billion barrels of crude could be recovered using technology at that time. The agency called it the largest continuous oil accumulation it has ever assessed.

The USGS says the two-year study will begin in October.