Shale gas webinar to explore history, challenges of Bakken oil fields

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Web-based seminar presented by Penn State Extension's Marcellus Education Team will look at the growth of the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and compare their development to Pennsylvania's experience with the Marcellus Shale and natural gas.

The webinar, titled "The Bakken Part 1: History and Challenges of Oil Development," will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Presenters will be Vicky Steiner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties, and Gerry Fisher, administrator for the North Dakota Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office.

In addition to her role with the Oil and Gas Association, Steiner also serves as a state legislator. As a result, she is concerned not only with the western North Dakota counties, which the Bakken underlies, but also with the role government plays in its funding structure. "The exponential growth rate of the North Dakota Bakken oil play challenges local government's traditional role," she said.

Fisher noted that funding for infrastructure is available through grant sources in North Dakota. "Grants made by the Board of University and School Lands from the state's oil and gas impact grant fund are making a positive difference as political subdivisions realize direct impacts to public infrastructure from oil and gas development," he said. "But the infrastructure needs currently outpace funds available."

While Marcellus and Utica shale development has created challenges in the Appalachian Basin, the development and growth of the Bakken fields in North Dakota has created similar difficulties and presented other unique circumstances, which will be covered in the webinar.

Penn State Extension's Marcellus Education Team provides monthly webinars on a variety of topics. Upcoming webinars include the following:

--Nov 20: "The Bakken Part 2:  Responding to the Challenges and Planning for the Future," Deb Nelson, program manager, Vision West ND, and Daryl Dukart, chairman, Vision West ND Consortium.

--Dec 18: "What We Know and Don't Know about Methane Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Production," Kenneth Davis, professor of meteorology, Penn State.

The webinars are free, but participants must register on the events page of the Penn State Extension Natural Gas website. The site also offers information about future webinars. Registrants must provide an email address to receive the link to the upcoming webinar.

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics, such as natural gas production and waste figures; oil and gas best practices; Act 13 (Pennsylvania's oil and gas law); the volume of gas in shale formations; seismic testing; air pollution from gas development; water use and quality; natural gas liquids; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; gas pipeline trends and right-of-way issues; legal issues surrounding gas development; the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland; royalty calculations and decline curves; and reclamation of drill cuttings.

For more information, contact Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or by email at

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Last Updated January 09, 2015