400-500 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in the Bakken oil field in Montana and North Dakota.
It's a story that is reminiscent of the old Beverly Hillbillies. Imagine a wheat farmer in Stanley, North Dakota who strikes black gold and is no longer dependent on farming to make a living. Communities talking oil boom and plans to build new refineries. News reports on the TV. Hopes that the crippling cost of gasoline will be eased.
Some say that the oil field stretches 25,000 square miles and has two times more oil than Saudi Arabia. The USGS confirms that it is the largest oil discovery in the history of the USA.
Discovered in the 1950's, recent technological oil drilling developments have made it possible to tap this resource. The oil is in a layer of shale 8-10 thousand feet below the surface of the earth. Drill down eight thousand feet, then horizontally in all directions – break up the shale and pump out the oil. The horizontal drilling technology is the new revolutionary advancement.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana is very hopeful. He wants private enterprise to develop the energy. "I can promise you I do not want the Federal Government helping me with anything. Because almost every time they get involved in something, they mess it up. We'll do this, in the State of Montana and the State of North Dakota We'll build a private enterprise. "
There are people who blame the oil speculators for the spike in oil prices. As I write this, congress is debating this live on CSPAN. There is certainly a cause and effect relationship between this kind of investment play and the volatility of oil costs. The premise of the strategy is that oil is a limited commodity.
Some researchers are beginning to question the peak oil theory that is the basis of the oil industry's business practices. If oil is created in a geochemical "abiotic" process rather than hydrocarbons left from the remains of fossils, then oil is a virtually limitless resource.
Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of Black Gold Stranglehold, says the Bakken discovery dwarfs the north shore of Alaska and rivals Saudi Arabia "Today the technology is able to get at it." "They're [oil] coming out of the center … the mantel of the earth."
On a recent History Channel program profiling the diamond industry, they described the De Beers diamond cartel. Diamonds are in reality, almost as common as sand. De Beers controls the market by only allowing a limited supply of the stones to be released. This causes an artificial shortage, which keeps the prices of diamonds high. If oil is in unlimited supply, continuously renewed by geochemical processes, then the only reason it is rare is because the supply is being closed off.
On the other hand there are voices of dissension that down play the optimistic appraisal of the oil find. They say the amount of oil and the ease of extracting it are exaggerated. Are they right? Or are they speaking on behalf of the oil business's interests?