We promise not to miss it this time.
Bakken: CLR, EOG, HES, ERF, WLL, MRO, NOG.
Haynesville: CHK, GDP, HK, GMXR, PVA.
Marcellus: CHK, ATLS, RRC, ATN.
Others: XCO, SM, BEXP, CRK, EAC, XTO.
Service: HP, CRR, WFT, etc.
Bloomberg: Dakota Oil Fields of Saudi-Sized Reserves Make Farmers Drillers.
His new wealth springs from the Bakken formation, a sprawling deposit of high-quality crude beneath the durum wheat fields of North Dakota, Montana and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Bakken may give the U.S. -- the world's biggest importer of oil -- a new domestic energy source at a time when demand from China and India is ratcheting up the global competition for supplies and propelling average U.S. gasoline prices to almost $4 a gallon.
And unlike the tar from Canada's oil sands, Bakken crude needs little refining. Swirl some of it in a Mason jar and it leaves a thin, honey-colored film along the sides. It's light - -almost like gasoline -- and sweet, meaning it's low in sulfur.
Best of all, the Bakken could be huge. The U.S. Geological Survey's Leigh Price, a Denver geochemist who died of a heart attack in 2000, estimated that the Bakken might hold a whopping 413 billion barrels. If so, it would dwarf Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, the world's biggest field, which has produced about 55 billion barrels.
The challenge is getting the oil out. Bakken crude is locked 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) underground in a layer of dolomite, a dense mineral that doesn't surrender oil the way more-porous limestone does. The dolomite band is narrow, too, averaging just 22 feet (7 meters) in North Dakota.
The USGS said in April that the Bakken holds as much as 4.3 billion barrels that can be recovered using today's engineering techniques. That's a fraction of the oil that Price said should be there, but it's still the largest accumulation of crude in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. North Dakota, where Bakken exploration is most intense now, won't become Saudi Arabia unless technology improves.
``The Bakken is the biggest thing in oil in the lower 48 right now,'' says Jim Jarrell, president of Ross Smith Energy Group Ltd., a research firm in Calgary. ``And among the least understood.''