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USGS doubles estimate for oil from Williston Basin

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Geological Survey said today there is nearly twice as much recoverable oil in the Williston Basin than its estimate of five years ago.

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 The USGS has determined that there are approximately 7.4 billion barrels of oil that could be pumped from western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

The last USGS study, released in April 2008, identified 3.65 billion recoverable barrels of oil in the Bakken formation. The new estimate includes oil that could come from the Three Forks formation in addition to the Bakken formation.

“This is clearly great news for North Dakota and great news for the nation,” U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a news release. “It will further serve to enhance our state’s role as an energy powerhouse for the nation.

The USGS discussed details of the survey in a conference call.

“This new USGS study further confirms and reinforces the fact that the Williston Basin is a sustainable, long-term play warranting strong private-sector investment for decades into the future,” Hoeven said.

The USGS began the study, which includes data from oil exploration companies, in October 2011.

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