An article in the Statesman on Friday indicated that a report by the US government estimates that 4.3billion barrels of oil could be taken from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. This seemingly is quite substantial, yet when one consideres the US uses 21MMBD this discovery really does little in the way of moving the US towards energy independence. 21MMBD is approximately 7.7billion barrels a year. So basically the discovery in North Dakota would satisfy our energy needs for little more than half a year. While individuals are calling this "great news" I think it is a bit short sighted as the potential reserves represents a drop in the bucket. Yet on the positive side, with current oil prices at $110 a barrel, this discovery is currently economically feasible as companies only need crude prices to be above $50 a barrel in order for this investment to make financial sense.
The original article can be viewed here.