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Ohio Utica Shale

Safety missteps threaten North Dakota's Bakken oil bonanza

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From the Associated Press last week:

The godfather of North Dakota’s present oil bonanza predicted the state’s crude production will double to 2 million barrels daily by decade’s end but warned industry officials Thursday that future safety missteps would threaten that.

“We can’t have any more issues,” Harold Hamm, the chairman of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, told expo-goers at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. “It has to be done in an absolute safe manner. It’s going to take all of us.”

Hamm’s company is the biggest producer and largest leaseholder in the Bakken shale formation, with more than 1 million acres in North Dakota and Montana. The company, which has been drilling in North Dakota for almost 25 years, was among the first to tap a Bakken well in 2004 using horizontal drilling technology. The company was the first to drill a horizontal well in the underlying Three Forks formation in 2008.

Unlocking the once-perplexing formations has propelled North Dakota from the nation’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2006 to No. 2, behind Texas. But the state’s unprecedented oil boom recently been marred by a massive oil pipeline rupture last fall near Tioga and a fiery oil train derailment in December near Casselton.

The disaster in the small town west of Fargo was one of at least eight major accidents during the last year, including an explosion of Bakken crude in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people. Other trains carrying Bakken crude have since derailed and caught fire in Alabama, New Brunswick and Virginia.
Hamm said just one more incident is enough to put the brakes on Bakken oil development.

“If we have anything, they’re going to shut us down,” the billionaire oilman said. “So many people want to stop fossil fuel use and production. They don’t have anything to take its place, but they want to stop it. We’re in the crosshairs.”

Hamm, who later sat on a panel with other company CEOs, said his company’s oil production in the Bakken has increased more than tenfold to 88,000 barrels a day since 2007.

“We’re the envy of the world,” Hamm said of the Bakken, which encompasses some 25,000 square miles in North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. About two-thirds of the acreage is in western North Dakota.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.