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Report bumps oil estimate for Williston Basin

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The government estimates that 7.4 billion barrels of oil can be recovered from the Bakken and Three Forks formations in the Dakotas and Montana, using current technology.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimate released Tuesday increases an earlier estimate by more than 3 billion barrels.

The USGS estimated in 2008 that up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from the Bakken. The latest assessment includes the Three Forks formation below the Bakken.

The formations encompass more than 25,000 square miles within the Williston Basin. About two-thirds of the formations' acreage is in western North Dakota.

North Dakota politicians pressured the USGS to do the new assessment to add the Three Forks, saying it would attract more investment in the state's oil patch.