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“Film describes events taking place after discovery of oil in Williston Basin, North Dakota.”
Williston is a city in and the county seat of Williams County, North Dakota, United States. The 2010 census gave its population as 14,716, and the Census Bureau gave the 2013 estimated population as 20,850, making Williston the sixth largest city in North Dakota. The North Dakota oil boom is largely responsible for the sharp increase in population.
Founded in 1887, Williston was named for Daniel Willis James, a board member of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, by his friend, railroad owner, James J. Hill.
Williston’s newspapers, both in print and online, are the daily Williston Herald and the weekly The Williston Trader. Sloulin Field International Airport is a public airport 3.2 km (2.0 mi) north of the business district. Williston is the home of Williston State College and the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Pageant…
Williston’s economy, while historically agricultural, is increasingly being driven by the oil industry. Williston lends its name to the Williston Basin, a huge subterranean geologic feature known for its rich deposits of petroleum, coal and potash. Williston sits atop the Bakken formation, which by the end of 2012 was predicted to be producing more oil than any other site in the United States, surpassing even Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, the longtime leader in domestic output in the United States. Williston has seen a huge increase in population and infrastructure investments during the last several years with expanded drilling using the ‘frac’ petroleum extraction technique in the Bakken Formation and Three Forks Groups. (The State of North Dakota provides a website detailing daily oil activity.) In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there were 150 million barrels of oil “technically recoverable” from the Bakken shale. In April 2008, the number was said to be about four billion barrels; in 2010 geologists at Continental Resources, the major drilling operation in North Dakota, estimated the reserve at eight billion. In March 2012, after the discovery of a lower shelf of oil, it announced a possible 24 billion barrels. Although current technology allows for extraction of only about 6% of the oil trapped 0.99–1.99 mi (1.6–3.2 km) beneath the earth’s surface, recoverable oil might eventually exceed 500 billion barrels…
The Williston Basin is a large intracratonic sedimentary basin in eastern Montana, western North Dakota, South Dakota, and southern Saskatchewan, that is known for its rich deposits of petroleum and potash. The basin is a geologic structural basin but not a topographic depression; it is transected by the Missouri River. The oval-shaped depression extends approximately 475 miles (764 km) north-south and 300 miles (480 km) east-west.
The Williston Basin lies above an ancient Precambrian geologic basement feature, the Trans-Hudson Orogenic Belt that developed in this area about 1.8-1.9 billion years ago, and that created a weak zone that later led to sagging to produce the basin. The Precambrian basement rocks in the center of the basin beneath the city of Williston, North Dakota lie about 16,000 feet (4,900 m) below the surface…
The long history of sedimentary deposition in the Williston Basin included deposition of rocks well suited to serve as hydrocarbon source and reservoir rocks. The basin’s oil and gas fields are found in a wide range of geologic ages, as indicated by the generalized stratigraphic column.
Oil was first found in the Williston Basin along the Cedar Creek Anticline in southeastern Montana, in the 1920s and 1930s. The basin did not become a major oil province until the 1950s when large fields were discovered in North Dakota. Amerada, the largest independent oil firm, began the search in 1946. After four years of testing and mapping they started drilling at a promising lease 30 miles north-east of Williston, ND and on April 4, 1951 found a large field of oil underground. Immediately other oil firms rushed in to buy up leases on farm land to explore for oil and by 1954 80% of the possible oil producing areas were under lease. Shell at that time had leases over 8 million acres. Many local farmers and area speculators became instant millionaires, leasing land at an average of an acre and then selling those leases back at a much higher cost per acre. Production peaked in 1986, but in the early 2000s significant increases in production began because of application of horizontal drilling techniques, especially in the Bakken Formation.
Cumulative basin production totals about 3.8 billion barrels (600,000,000 m3) of oil and 470 billion cubic feet (1.3×1010 m3) of natural gas…