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A perspective on the “Bakken Belt” doubling

The awesome expansion of domestic oil production in the original hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operation, the Bakken Belt, centered in North Dakota, is expected to double its volume of oil and natural gas production from its current one million daily barrels of crude oil by the end of this decade. This was foretold by top energy executives, gathered at an Oil & Gas Conference in the state’s capital, Bismarck, in mid-September.

Although much has been written and broadcast about this miracle of oil and natural gas since it became economically viable in the past decade, noone ever predicted that this original shale, emanating from America’s North central farmlands, could be expected to rival and potentially exceed the volume now generated by only a handful of nations throughout the world, including the second tier of OPEC nations.

What is even more telling is that what Bakken has achieved since the turn of the century is a forerunner of such similar ventures as the Middle Atlantic Marcellus shale, and Texas’ Eagle Ford and Permian Basin. Even these are only the forerunners, as the largest potential of all, the California-based Monterrey Shale is only awaiting the go-ahead from Gov. Jerry Brown, who is being restrained by the California Air Resources Board. This Board is considered enemy number one by those hoping not only to make America energy independent, but to become a major generator of oil, natural gas , and its derivatives.

Unfortunately, at a time when circumstances have come forth to make the U.S. the world’s leading source of energy development and exports, it is also embattled in an economic civil war waged by “climatological purists,” who seemed to have the backing of the current Administration and its agencies and private pressure groups.

An independent survey by the University of Southern California, predicted a state bounty of $75 billion and 200,00 additional employees within five years, by a state beset by growing long-term pension benefit plans, and a departure of business fleeing to neighboring states, such as Nevada, Arizona, and even Texas to find haven from California’s state taxes, which are the highest in the country.

It’s almost unimaginable what could be accomplished in unlimited revenue and employment growth that could put the U.S. in a position of not only balancing its annual budget, but reducing its long-term debt, if all the nation’s states, plus two-thirds of the country now occupied by federal lands come under a national effort of natural resource development. It may prove a touch of irony that Northern neighbor Canada, with little more than 10% of the U.S. population, is producing a third of crude oil production now being generated by its Southern neighbor, primarily through the unlimited oil sands, found primarily in the Athabasca region of Canada’s Western Alberta Province.

Based on future projections of oil and natural gas production, generated through a continually upgraded fracking technology, and taking into account the politico/Administration hurdles facing the maximum exploitation of this “breakthrough opportunity,” it’s not unreasonable to project that fracking alone will eventually match the daily volume of 10-12 million barrels of oil a day now generated by world leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Due to America’s huge physical acreage, its topography, and infrastructure (to be eventually updated) no other of the world’s nations could begin to match the U.S. potential that lies ahead, no matter what governmental hurdles Washington, D.C. throws into its path of progress.

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