The Bakken and Three Forks Formations of North Dakota and eastern Montana make up the largest tight oil play in the United States, 160 billion barrels (Bbbl) to over 900 Bbbl. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the formations contain an estimated mean of 7.4 Bbbl of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil. The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources forecasts production to grow from more than 660,000 bbl/day in 2012 to over 700,000 bbl/day in the next 4 to 7 years, surpassing both Alaska and California’s production, with Texas remaining the highest-producing state. The growth in North Dakota has been described as the world’s largest construction project, given the new infrastructure demands on the state for oil production and transportation and the need for supporting the influx of people and services.
To track this growth, the EERC developed a Web-based GIS, the BDSS, which conveniently assembles data for the Bakken and Three Forks Formations into a GIS application enabling users to visualize geologic and production information. Analytical tools support the evaluation and interpretation of geological properties such as thickness, depth, structure, and organic content. Production data can be utilized to provide development history and identify areas of low or high production.