Press Editorial: Keeping up with oil cacheRumors and talk that there is much more black gold in North Dakota than realized have swirled and swirled. It seems those rumors are not rumors and may not have been exaggerated to their full potential. A study released Thursday shows an oil reservoir in western North Dakota holds nearly as much recoverable crude as the Bakken shale formation above it.
Rumors and talk that there is much more black gold in North Dakota than realized have swirled and swirled. It seems those rumors are not rumors and may not have been exaggerated to their full potential.
A study released Thursday shows an oil reservoir in western North Dakota holds nearly as much recoverable crude as the Bakken shale formation above it.
Technology could lead to the recovery of about 1.9 billion barrels in the Three Forks-Sanish formation.
The Three Forks is made up of sand and porous rock directly below North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken formation, which has been estimated to hold 2.1 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
The new Three Forks projection is based on more than 200 well measurement logs and 85 sets of testimony from technical experts.
This is good news for North Dakota and the country and is a chance to develop our resources, stop independence on foreign oil and create a stable economy, complete with creating hundreds of jobs.
What an economic boost this will be. Along with bringing hundreds of people to this side of the state comes a need for goods and services. We can also hope that more oil produced means lower prices for consumers.
However there is the flip side. Problems are imminent upon tapping into such a gigantic discovery. And to some extent these problems have already sprouted in the region: Lack of housing; safety issues; shortage of employees; road concerns.
Now is a time for the southwestern part of the state to work on comprehensive plans to make sure safety issues for oil crews and residents alike are resolved.
This includes keeping emergency responders on top of rescue procedures and what to do in case of a major catastrophe that can come along with working with millions of gallons of combustible liquids.
It means being prepared if the bottom drops out of the industry.
It means having plans in place for roads that are likely to take more of a beating as thousands of pounds of equipment are hauled across them daily.
It means knowing where the water needed to produce each barrel of oil is going to come from and making sure the drinking water is clear of contamination.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Williston, Stanley, Minot or Dickinson; these communities are facing many of the same issues. That’s why this discovery is a perfect opportunity to share insights.
Oil companies have been providing a closer look into their industry recently to those who are not schooled in the practice and don’t know the difference between a derrick and a directional hole. This has included tours for area leaders and presentations at municipal meetings.
Having officials and residents knowledgeable about the industry is a favorable start to making sure some of these issues are approached and may also lead to more environmentally friendly practices.
While making plans for such an enormous discovery, we urge officials to think about what we want the area to look like 10 and even 50 years down the road.
The oil companies, cities, counties and residents must work together on plans and make this favorable find just that, favorable.
— The Dickinson Press Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues of importance to the community.