Yes. Research into recycling frac flowback water and use of saline water from the Dakota Formation is being funded.
We have not observed this as a trend. The Bakken is an “unconventional” resource that requires very expensive drilling and completion techniques. There are other more conventional oil and gas plays in the Williston Basin, some of which benefit from horizontal drilling and others which utilize traditional vertical drilling. All of these activities have an important role in the economy of the State of North Dakota and the oil and gas industry.
With today’s best technology, it is predicted that 1%-2% of the reserves can be recovered.
The natural gas produced in association with the Bakken/Three Forks oil is much different than the natural gas we use in our homes and businesses. Consumer quality natural gas is primarily made up of methane, while raw wellhead gas may contain a mixture of methane, propane, ethane, butane, nitrogen, and other compounds. It is at a processing plant that the raw natural gas stream is cleaned and separated into its various components for consumer use. North Dakota has seen many new plants constructed or planned in order to keep pace with growing production. For more information about natural gas processing, please visit Adventures in Energy.
This is generally an upfront cost associated with drilling a well. Oil companies prefer and traditionally have made one lump-sum payment to surface owners instead of prorating the payments over an unknown period of years since nobody really knows how long the well will be active. The lump-sum payment has traditionally worked out well for the surface owner.