For the first time in five months, a rig in the Williston Basin, where North Dakota's Bakken shale formation lies, sputtered back to life and started drilling for crude once again. And then one returned to the Permian Basin, the nation's biggest oil play, field services contractor Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday.Shale explorers including EOG Resources Inc. and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. say they're preparing to bounce back from the deepest and most prolonged slowdown in U.S. oil drilling on record. The country has lost more than half its rigs since October, casualties of a 49 percent slide in crude prices during the last half of 2014. Futures rallied above $60 a barrel earlier this week, and a sudden return to oil fields would threaten to end this fragile recovery.Read more in BloombergBusiness.
How much recoverable oil does the Bakken Formation have? The most recent estimate of proved reserves is just under 6 billion barrels for the entire Williston Basin, which includes the Bakken, and another 3.5 billion to 4.1 billion barrels of "undiscovered and technically recoverable" oil. Harold Hamm, founder and CEO of Continental Resources, once said he believed there were 24 billion barrels of oil in place in the basin.That size of this resource has been lost during the discussion of whether the price of oil will shut down fracking in the region. Eventually, as global demand for crude continues at or near historical highs, the oil from the region will be produced and shipped to refineries. And with the price of oil moving back up, that could happen sooner and not later.Read more at 24/7 Wall St.