The Bakken is one of North America’s largest oil-rich shale plays. Longer horizontal well bores and widespread use of hydraulic fracturing spurred soaring production. North Dakota now ranks second among U.S. oil-producing states – and a large portion of the domestic drilling rig fleet will be retrofitted to walking or skidding systems by year-end. More than 70% of Bakken oil moves by rail tank car, giving crude-by-rail the leading role for getting Bakken production to market. Economic impacts are seen state-wide as North Dakota proudly claims the nation’s lowest unemployment and a per-person gross domestic output significantly higher than the national average.
The Burgeoning Bakken
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