I generally don't care for the non-subscription posts on Motley Fool. The articles are generally short, superfical, and teasers for their reports. Having said that, the linked article has some interesting data points. The most important data point: the estimated recoverable oil in the Bakken. It might be in CLR's corporate interest to opine that the middle Bakken and the upper Three Forks could have 24 billion bbls of technically recoverable oil, but this is interesting:
Although a 2008 USGS study estimated the Bakken's recoverable reserves at 5 billion barrels, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute recently estimated that there are 20 billion barrels in the Bakken.Again, it is my understanding that these estimates are of the middle Bakken and the upper Three Forks. To the best of my understanding, it does not include the lower benches of the Three Forks. When one includes the lower benches of the Three Forks, the number is much, much higher.
The Motley Fool continues:
Takeaway capacity and problems with low prices are limiting proven reserves in the Bakken, but the Enbridge mainline extension with a Bakken spur will provide pipeline capacity, as will the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Rail investments, such as those spearheaded by EOG Resources, are additional positive signs.
Note that reserves can only be proven when they are commercially viable. Better takeaway capacity should bump prices up and hence bump reserves up, too.
Furthermore, if Valero, Tesoro, and Phillips 66 have their way with their rail investments, Bakken oil may supplant pricier Alaskan and Brent crude in both East Coast and West Coast refineries.
In short, the Bakken is a beast.