I've often talked about the Bakken as being a laboratory. A reader sends me this link lending support to that argument. The Economic Times is reporting that global fracking patents hit a record last year (2013):
The number of patents filed for new shale extraction technology reached a record high last year as oil and gas companies battled for control of intellectual property in the growing industry, research by Thomson Reuters showed on Tuesday.
In 2013, 706 patent applications were filed worldwide for so-called fracking technology, up 28 percent from the previous year, according to a report published by Thomson Reuters' legal business.
Fracking is the process of drilling and pumping chemicals, sand and water into rocks at high pressure to extract oil and gas.
Many of the patent applications were for systems to provide power to isolated fracking projects and for technology to heat water needed in the fracking process without electricity.