Bakken Advances in 2012 | VideoJennifer Joas | 12/31/2012
"2012 was the kind of year where the foam kind of overflows the cup. And everything was, for the first half of the year, everything was going straight up," said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.
North Dakota`s oil production increased by 200,000 barrels a day in 2012, allowing the state to surpass California and Alaska to become the second largest oil producing state in the country. Much of that success can be attributed to the evolving technologies in the Bakken, such as ECO PADS and walking rigs, which allow companies to drill multiple wells per spacing unit and move the rig within hours instead of days.
"We are learning the geology. We know where to drill better. We know what zones are productive. We even have some zones that we were not drilling a little bit deeper into the Three Forks Formation that we are getting oil out of. So as we continue to learn these things, all these different aspects are going to continue to make this Bakken extend its life," said Neset Consulting geologist Kathleen Neset.
Walking rigs now make up close to 50 percent of the rig fleet in the Bakken.
In addition to walking rigs, other technologies such as using recycled water during fracking and using natural gas to operate rigs instead of diesel fuel were looked at this year. The UND Energy and Environmental Research Center is also researching how to use carbon dioxide to increase the recoverable oil in the Bakken from about six percent now to possibly ten percent in the future.
"The potential might be to double our current recovery. Again that is really potential. That being said, maybe it has even more. We just do not know today. Again, we are very encouraged with our early laboratory data and we can mobilize a lot of oil in the lab," said John Harju with EERC.
All of these advances in the Bakken have led to national recognition. From spurring other states like Pennsylvania to want to refine Bakken crude, to giving the country hope of becoming the world`s largest oil producer in 2020.
2012 was a big year in Bakken history. Tune in tomorrow to learn how 2013 could be even bigger.