Hoeven Enlists Interior Secretary's Support for Updated USGS Williston Basin Reserve Estimate

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator John Hoeven today enlisted the support of U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to launch a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study to update estimates of recoverable oil reserves in the Williston Basin. The USGS is an agency of the Interior Department.

Hoeven has been working with Brenda Pierce, Coordinator for the Energy Resources Program at the USGS, and the North Dakota Geological Survey office to bring estimates up to date in order to attract new investments in development and infrastructure for both the state and North Dakota’s reservations. Today, he asked Secretary Salazar to “lend your weight and your support” to the effort. “I think it’s a real opportunity,” Hoeven said. Salazar said he agreed and would follow up on the study.

“This affects you directly through BLM lands,” Hoeven said at the hearing. “It also affects you directly through the BIA because of the reservations. There’s significant oil and gas development on the reservations, which is a tremendous benefit to the tribes, as well as our state. It creates not only more energy, but employment opportunities and revenue to the tribes.

“The last study done identified 2 billion plus recoverable barrels of oil with far more than that in place, but some of the companies in there now feel that there are significantly more recoverable reserves. The USGS coming back and working with the state of North Dakota to do an updated study would help bring resource development to that area – not just oil companies – but some of the infrastructure development, housing development, restaurants, not only off reservation but on reservation. It represents a great opportunity and should be a real priority for USGS. This is a resource issue, but it has tremendous revenue potential for the tribes, for our state, and for the fed gov’t because of these oil companies the revenues they generate.”