Experts have determined the Bakken is the source of the oil in both the Bakken Formation and the Three Forks Formation.
"We know for a fact that whether it's Bakken oil or Three Forks oil, it comes from these Bakken source rocks and it comes from that mature area," said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources in Bismarck.
Helms was in Minot last week giving presentations at the annual meeting of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties and at the Vision West ND consortium meeting. Vision West ND is a project covering the 19 oil and gas producing counties in the western part of the state.
This map, courtesy of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, shows the Bakken Formation, including the thermally mature area or the area impacted by drilling activity. The Bakken is the source for both the Bakken and Three Forks formations.
Currently, 87 percent of North Dakota oil production comes from the Bakken play.
Helms said the thermally mature area, an area in several counties in the western part of the state, has a 100 percent success ratio on drilling wells.
"They did not drill any dry holes last year," Helms said.
Helms said there are places within the Three Forks Formation where the oil has migrated as far as 75 miles out.
As far as specifically how far the Three Forks Formation extends, he said, "It hasn't been determined yet."