Hoeven to Host US Geological Williston Basin Survey Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven will host a meeting on April 28 in Bismarck to meet with leaders of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to urge the agency to launch a new study updating estimates of recoverable oil reserves in the Williston Basin. 

The meeting is the result of a hearing of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at which Hoeven enlisted the support of U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to launch a new study. The USGS is an agency of the Interior Department. Hoeven asked 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 he would follow up on the study. 

Brenda Pierce, Coordinator for the Energy Resources Program at the USGS, and her team of engineers and geologists will be on hand to hear evidence from oil producers regarding the need and value of a new, updated study. Hoeven has been working with her 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.  

The 2008 USGS study identified more than 2 billion recoverable barrels of oil in the Bakken formation with far more than that in place. Many companies operating in North Dakota have expressed to the Senator their belief that there are significantly more recoverable reserves. In order to warrant a revised study, the USGS needs current data from oil companies operating in the Williston Basin regarding their production curves, recovery rates, the new technologies they are employing and any new geological analyses available.  

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Bismarck State College Energy Center with a general session to set the stage for this initiative. The remainder of the day will be devoted to technical discussions between USGS scientists and the geologists and engineers from various producers.  

“Timely updates are an important part of attracting investments not only in new oil development, but also in the associated development needed to support growing communities,” Hoeven said. “It will help bring oil resource development to oil companies, but it will also help bring infrastructure, housing, restaurants, and other service businesses to communities both on and off the reservation.” 

Questions regarding the meeting should be addressed to Julie Fedorchak in Senator Hoeven’s Bismarck office, 701-250-4483.