While first discovered in 1951, it wasn’t until recently that North Dakota’s massive Bakken shale formation really got cooking.
As with many other shale rock formations in the U.S. and Canada, the increased adoption of advanced drilling techniques and fracking has allowed energy and production (E&P) firms to finally tap the rich energy resources locked in those rocks. However, few predicted just how much oil and liquids the Bakken holds … and it’s a lot.
The latest numbers out of a U.S. Geological Survey survey of the region — along with the neighboring Three Forks Region — nearly double the amount of energy locked within the shale rock. Overall, it’s predicted that the Bakken contains an estimated 7.4 billion barrels of “undiscovered, technically recoverable oil,” about 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 530 million barrels of natural gas liquids.
And according to some independent analyst assessments, even these substantial reserve estimates are still conservative measures .
The bottom line: That’s a ton of potential energy and profits for the various firms that operate in the region. More importantly, that could mean plenty of hefty profits for investors who take the Bakken plunge and bet on those firms. Here are some major winners: