Every morning, Jack and Carrie Wandler make 35 to 40 gallons of borscht. Their delivery van features the license plate “BORSCHT.” Gourmet magazine and the Today Show have tried, unsuccessfully, to wheedle Jack’s recipe for borscht out of him.
Today, people come to Jack’s Family Restaurant in Dickinson, N.D., from all over the area and across the land to have a cup or bowl of Jack and Carrie’s borscht, a light concoction of red beets, cabbage and other less obvious ingredients. Downstairs, there is a large private room for parties. And they have catered for as many as 500 people.
“You have to be different from everybody else,” he said.
The chicken is pretty good, too, and there are bits of artwork showing chickens on the walls. The restaurant sells T-shirts. One says: “It’s worth crowing crow about.” Another says: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Jack’s” Read More
What do you see on the open road in North Dakota? A sampling:
Billboard for Halliburton: Join Our Team
Billboard for Precision Drilling: Looking for Toughnecks
Red Barn Trailer Court: Sorry No Lots
We stopped to grab something to eat at a restaurant in Williston, N.D., and this was on the menu:
The big oil companies are often the last ones to catch on to big changes. It was a medium-size independent oil company that pioneered a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap enormous shale gas for the first time.
Here in North Dakota and neighboring Montana, it’s been a similar story. Small to medium-size companies applied the same technique to unlocking oil in the Bakken formation, a geological layer rich in oil that had not yet migrated to conventional reservoirs. Now some companies are tapping into other formations in northwest North Dakota, including the Three Forks or Pronghorn. Read More
About seven years ago, oil companies figured out how to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract unconventional oil resources trapped in a geological formation called the Bakken, which was previously believed to be too difficult to tap. With petroleum prices fetching record prices over the past year and a half, an old-fashioned oil rush is on.
So what is this Bakken Formation? And what makes it different from conventional oil finds?
“Typically in an unconventional place [like the Bakken] you’re dealing directly with the primary source rock, the kitchen sink itself where the oil is generated. It hasn’t really migrated to a typical reservoir, which captures it and allows more of a cooking process.”
As a result, the oil isn’t sitting in a pool or even in a relatively concentrated place. It’s still trapped in the source rock, the place of its genesis. This source rock isn’t porous, and as a result the oil doesn’t flow easily. Saleri says, “So essentially you remedy that deficiency by putting in a lot more wells.”
That also means combining hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, similar to the technique of drilling for shale gas in places like the Marcellus. The average well doesn’t produce much, especially after the first couple of years. In October last year, RBC Capital Markets said there were about 5,700 wells in North Dakota and forecast that there would be around 2,000 more by October this year.
So this oil has been hiding in plain sight, but oil companies needed to figure out how to get at it.