The energy news just keeps getting better.
On Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey announced that it had doubled its estimate of the amount of oil that can be recovered from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Eastern Montana and from the Three Forks formation immediately beneath it, to an awesome 7.4 billion barrels.
That would make it the biggest oil field ever found in the lower forty-eight, even bigger than the legendary East Texas field that began to produce in 1901 at Spindletop.
The Bakken and Three Forks are mostly an oil play at the moment, and about one-third of the natural gas that is also there in abundance (6.7 trillion cubic feet by current reckoning) is currently being flared off. But the natural gas boom in the United States is beginning to have significant international effects. As Walter Russell Mead notes, Russian gas giant Gazprom (which accounts for about ten percent of Russia’s total exports) has had to cut prices to meet growing American competition in Europe, a market Gazprom used to have largely to itself.