Posts Tagged ‘Bakken Formation’

I am interested in patterns and repetition of forms in my photos. During a recent trip to North Dakota I ran into such patterns and repetition of form in a variety of places. Here are a few examples (natural and man made).


The oil boom in North Dakota means that there are some places where oil wells crowd each other in the zest to drain the Bakken Oil Formation of its oil as quickly as possible (which, most likely will be many years from now). Even if there is plenty of oil, it is a bit disconcerting when you see so many wells crowded together like they are in this silhouette.

Oil Wells - Bakken Formation, North Dakota, June 2014-Silhouette

North Dakota sits on top of the largest oil discovery in at least a generation. This week the North Dakota Petroleum Council is celebrating  the fact that the state is now pumping one million barrels of oil a day. This is an astonishing figure and has not come without costs.  In another of my series of photos from my North Dakota trip, here are two photos of oil wells in the Bakken Formation. In the color photo, you can see natural gas being burned off as a waste product of the drilling. While burning natural gas byproduct of oil production was common in early drilling, it has become less prevalent as producers have sought and found ways to recover this valuable resource.

Oil Wells - Bakken Formation, North Dakota, June 2014     Trip to Williston Area - June 22, 2014 - 351_2_3pmatrix



The most important thing that I know about North Dakota is that it is undergoing a remarkable economic boom as a result of developments in technology in the oil industry that have allowed exploitation of oil and gas in Bakken Formation.

Trip to Newton - July 23, 2013 - 42

The Bakken Formation was discovered in the early 1950s. The coming of OPEC and its oil embargo caused a boom in oil exploration and drilling in North Dakota, but it disintegrated rapidly after oil prices eased. The latest boom began in 2006 when an oil company reported a well in the formation producing much more oil than expected.

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Trip to Newton - July 23, 2013 - 22-Edit-Edit-Edit-Landscapes

Since then, the formation has been the subject of much more scrutiny. Estimates of the amount of oil in the formation still vary widely but have been increasing. Suffice to say they begin at huge and go up to enormous with at least one observer saying the discovery could be the largest oil field discovered in the last 30-40 years. The New York Times Magazine had an excellent story about How North Dakota Went Boom earlier this year.

Development of these resources has put an enormous strain on resources. A single new well requires 2,000 truck trips to supply the well the materials used in the hydraulic fracturing process (also called “fracking” — e.g., water, sand and unknown chemicals) that gets the oil flowing.

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The boom has provided employment to many workers, principally men. As a result of an acute shortage of housing, let alone affordable housing, “man camps” have sprouted up in many places. These many be formal barracks-type buildings.

Man Camp

or extremely informal collections of campers where a landowner or company provides water and a privy.

Man Camp2 (Fine Art Process from Silver Efex. (Prob Use)

Some “lucky” occupants of man camps live right next to the highway,

Man Camp and Passing Truck

while others get up and they are already at work.

Trip to Newton - July 23, 2013 - 88-Edit

And while huge amounts of money have been made by many, as I have previously discussed there are many people who have been harmed by the boom.