Sunday, November 9, 2008

Black Gold. Texas Tea! Parshall, N.D. Oil Boom

What is that southern accent we're hearing in the North Dakota reservation town of Parshall? It's the voice of money to many of the residents who own mineral rights to land in the area.

Approximately 400 of the towns 1,000 or so people will benefit from the growing oil boom in the area, which is part of the Bakken oil formation. Every home or business owner, along with the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation have leased land to the oil roughnecks for Oklahoma and Texas.

Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey in April are that up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil are recoverable from the Bakken. A lot of the Bakken is in western North Dakota, about two miles below the surface.

On the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, some of the tribal members have already received significant royalties, with one family taking in close to $800,000 over the last few months, said Mervin Packineau, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes business council.

The original location of the first drilling began north of Parshall, but now they're moving south. So far the oil companies have primarily avoided the more populated areas because of the need to negotiate hundreds of individual contracts.

One of the owners of an oil company from Wichita, Kansas, Todd Slawson, said his company, Slawson Exploration Co., has been drilling around the edge of Parshall city limits, and next month has plans to drill partially beneath the town itself. In 2009 they'll probably drill directly beneath the town.

Slawson added that the wells just outside the city have been performing good.

Residual effects of the oil boom for the town has been the increase of sales in most businesses, including the one restaurant in town; the filling up of most available rental rooms on a daily basis; and the sale of water to the oil companies from the city for use in drilling in order to break up the shale to release the oil.

Some results from Gulfport Energy in Bakken area. Go to Bakken sub-headline for results in the region.

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