The Bakken Shale formation is one of the largest oil and natural gas plays currently in the United States and occupies approximately over 200,000 square miles in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada. The formation was named after Henry Bakken, a farmer in ND where it was initally discovered. This formation has been a boon for North Dakota which now has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3%, and is currently #1 in the nation for job growth and housing growth. North Dakota is now only 2nd to Texas as far as oil production goes in the US and just recent passed Ecuador as the 12th largest oil producing play in the world and is closing fast on Qatar both of which are members of OPEC. Because of the advent of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, the Bakken Shale Formation has become economically viable for oil companies. Recent Geological Surveys estimate that the formation could hold as little as 4.3 billion barrels of oil and as high as 40 billion. Shale plays like the Bakken are springing up all over the US and will help to lead the US to energy independence in the coming years. Oil being produced out of the Bakken Shale is fast approaching 1 million barrels of oil per month.

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