Oil and Natural Gas Development
Extraction of oil and gas via unconventional methods (e.g. hydraulic fracturing) is becoming an important aspect of energy production worldwide. This is evidenced by recent expansions of unconventional oil and gas development in some regions of North America, such as the Northern Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada. One striking example is development in the Williston Basin, which includes the U.S. states of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The bulk of conventional petroleum drilling and recovery began in the Basin during the 1950s. Since about 2007, there has been renewed interested in the Williston Basin, which has led to the rapid expansion of drilling activities. Currently, there are more than 10,000 producing wells in the Williston Basin and estimates suggest that the upward trend in new wells will continue for 20 to 50 years. We are working closely with our state and federal agency partners to develop research projects that are focused on understanding the relationship of this recent development to other natural resources throughout the region. NPWRC is particularly focused on quantifying patterns and trends in wildlife populations, and their habitats, associated with oil and gas development.