State geologist: SD oil potential vast, unexploredSPEARFISH (AP) — South Dakota has significant potential for oil development, but that potential has largely been unexplored, the state geologist said at the Black Hills Bakken Conference.
SPEARFISH (AP) — South Dakota has significant potential for oil development, but that potential has largely been unexplored, the state geologist said at the Black Hills Bakken Conference.
Derric Iles said Thursday that while the Red River rock formation in northwest South Dakota has been producing oil since the 1950s, geologists have largely ignored the oil potential of the Three Forks and Minnelusa formations, the media reported.
Lawmakers and business leaders are at the event in Spearfish this week to discuss how to prepare for an oil boom similar to North Dakota's, which has pushed that state to third in oil production in the nation.
The North Dakota boom is centered on the Bakken shale formation, which doesn't extend into South Dakota. Northwestern South Dakota is part of the oil-producing Williston Basin, however. Iles said he believes there is a lot of untapped oil, and until geologists and oil companies do the necessary tests they won't know what is under the ground.
"The other rock layers above (the Red River formation) were too often rocks in the way that (companies) had to drill through to get to the pay zone," Iles said. "Too often, they didn't stop to look at the overlying rock units."
Those in-between formations are the Three Forks and the Minnelusa. Three Forks is producing oil just north of the border in North Dakota.
"There is no production from the Three Forks shale in our state. We're under-explored," Iles said.
Oil companies have long known there was oil in the Bakken formation in North Dakota, but it wasn't until they figured out the technology necessary to tap into it that the oil boom took off. Tony Petres, president of Inyan Kara Group, an oil and gas exploration company, said he is convinced that more oil is available in South Dakota, and that more research is needed to find the black gold.