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When the Harpers Magazine arrives, it is a family tradition for one member to read off the Index and have the other members guess at the possible answer.  I thought it would be fun to have a Bakken Index. The North Dakota Bakken oil field combines hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. This has produced a new U.S. crude oil boom that wants to come our way on virtual pipelines of 120 car Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) unit trains.

The Bakken Crude Oil Field

Rank of North Dakota in the extraction of domestic crude oil: 2

Percentage increase in North Dakota’s Bakken oil production from 2007 to 2012: 500%

Number of barrels/day produced in North Dakota in 2013: 860,000/day

Number of North Dakota counties that currently produce 85% of the Bakken crude oil: 4

Number of publicly traded corporations listed as “Bakken Operating Companies”: 69

Rank of stock price of listed companies for world’s largest producer of ceramic proppant: 1

Rank of Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price among these 69 Operating companies: 4

Average percentage nationwide for the flaring of natural gas at oil producing wells: 1%

Percentage of N Dakota oil producing wells that flared natural gas in December 2013: 36%

Number of tons of radioactive oil socks produced daily in North Dakota: 27 tons

Number of picocuries/gram of radioactive waste allowed to be disposed in N Dakota: 5

Number of radioactive oil socks allowed to be disposed of in North Dakota: 0

Volume estimate of illegally dumped  radioactive socks in North Dakota: 1000s of lbs.

Month US Ecology, Inc said part of N Dakota in danger of being a superfund site: March '14

Level at which US Ecology Inc deposits Bakken radioactive oil socks in Idaho: 500 picocuries/gram

Hydraulic Fracturing and Horizontal Drilling

Year when hydraulic fracking was first commercially used in U.S. oil and gas industry: 1947

Decade in which the use of hydraulic fracking in horizontal wells introduced: 1980s

Depth  a production casing at a oil well can extend before turning horizontally: 10,000 feet

Percentage of water and sand in the fracturing fluids injected  into the wells: 98-99.5%

Average amount of surface water used for a single Bakken oil well: 4,600,000 gallons

Amount of fracking sand that can be used in a single Bakken well: 1 million pounds or more.

Remaining component of the fracturing fluid is made of what: proprietary chemicals.

In a typical fracturing treatment, what is the number of chemical additives used:  3 to 12

Number of EPA regulations for fracking fluids or propping agents injected in oil wells:  0

Name of exemption of hydraulic fracking from Safe Water Drinking Act: “Halliburton Loophole”

Number of fracking chemicals on Material Safety Data Sheets that must be reported: 0

Number of hydraulic fracturing products used by leading companies: 2,500

Number of these products known as human carcinogens or hazardous air pollutants: 650

The percentage of fracking fluid that is returned to the surface as “flowback fluid”: 75%

Port of Olympia 2012 revenue from ceramic proppant shipping for the Bakken: $1.2 million

Number of bags of ceramic proppants offloaded by the Port in February 2014: 7,000

Burlington Northern Sante Fe

How many years after Warren Buffet visited the Bakken crude oil fields did he buy BNSF: 1

What was the price Warren paid for the BNSF rail line in 2009:  $26 billion

The number of originated carloads of crude oil by rail in 2005: 6,032

The number of originated carloads of crude oil by rail in 2013: 400,000

The number of gallons of Bakken crude in a 100 car unit train: 3,000,000

Percentage of the million barrels/day of Bakken crude BNSF plans to ship by rail in 2014: 90%

No. of days North Dakota wheat shipments delayed this winter due to oil train traffic: 40

When oil-train-disrupted Amtrak Empire Builder may return to normal schedule: June '14

No. of loaded coal cars derailed on BNSF lines in eastern Montana February 24, 2014: 29

No. of empty coal cars derailed on BNSF lines in western Montana on March 1, 2014: 45

Number of BNSF track defects since 2006 reported in North Dakota: 13,000

Number of these violations written up: 721

The amount of oil spilled by the rail industry in 2013 alone: 1.15 million gallons of crude

No. of  deaths in Lac-Megantic, Quebec due to July 2013 derailment of Bakken oil: 47 

Number of months after this derailment that the MMA railroad declared bankruptcy: 1

Estimated # of months the Lac-Megantic downtown will be closed for restoration: 12

First thing rebuilt after 40 downtown buildings were burned to the ground: railroad line.

Amount of oil spilled by BNSF train in Casselton, North Dakota: 400,000 gallons.

Number of hours that this spilled Bakken oil burned near Casselton: 24

Number of tons of oil-tainted dirt hauled away after this spill: 10,000

No. of train derailments nationwide carrying crude oil between Nov. 2013 & Jan. 2014: 4

Of 92,000 rail tank cars in use, how many do not meet current safety standards: 80,000

Year the National Transportation Safety Board raise concerns about these cars: 1991.

Year in which regulations for new tank cars began: 2011.

Number of barrels of crude oil shipped across Washington state in 2013: 17 million barrels

How much will that figure be in 2014 ccording to US Senator Murray: 51 million barrels

The number of rail cars on back-order at Trinity Industries in 2013: 40,050

How many of Washington’s three east west rails lines are owned by Buffett’s BNSF:   3

Who owns the main North South rail line in Washington state:  Warren Buffett’s BNSF

Number of trains that run on the North South BNSF track in a 24 hour period: 68

Number of riders on this same north south  rail by Amtrak Cascades in 2012: 836,000

Amount cut from WSDOT’s share of Amtrak Cascades budget for 2013-15: $1 million

Amount of fed. dollars WSDOT is spending on improving rail lines owned by BNSF: $800 million

No. of oil trains added if all oil receiving expansion projects in WA are approved: 22/day

Number of projected loaded and empty coal trains on WA rail lines by 2018: 36/day

Percentage of Washington’s 167 million bushels of wheat in 2011 shipped by rail: 27%

No. of  containers or TEU’s handled by Seattle, Tacoma and Portland in 2009: 3 million

Tons of corn, wheat & soybean primarily exported in 2012 from WA ports: 60 million

Number of oil trains traveling each day if all three Grays Harbor oil terminals are built: 5

Number of oil trains/day loaded/unloaded projected for Vancouver’s Tesoro oil terminal: 10.3

Name of 2nd largest U.S. independent refiner wanting to end export ban on crude oil: Tesoro

Number of 7  Vancouver City Council members who oppose Tesoro’s crude oil terminal: 4

Number of public comments received by EFSEC on Tesoro’s proposed terminal: 31,000

Number of Washington state inspectors reviewing 3,000 miles of railroad track: 4

Percentage of nationwide railroad track the Federal Railroad Administration inspects: 1%

Number of local emergency responders BNSF must advise in advance of shipments: 0


                                             Bakken Index Sources

For more information or questions on the Bakken Index or if you need a specific source or a list of all sources used, please contact Dan Leahy:  (360) 402-0441.  PO Box 602, Olympia, WA  98507