|Geophysicist Eric Johnson Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers|
By Darryl L. Flowers
Last Wednesday Billings Geophysicist Eric Johnson spoke to a full house at the Petroleum Club in Billings regarding oil exploration along the Eastern Slope of the Rockies.
The occasion was a regular monthly presentation of the Montana Geological Society.
According to the MGS’ Jay Gunderson, the monthly gatherings typically bring in 25-35 people. 48 showed up for Johnson’s lecture.
Johnson told the crowd that the oil in the Cut Bank oil field in Glacier County has been determined to have originated in the Bakken System. The Cut Bank oil was found at a much shallower depth than the Bakken since the formation has fractured in a zone along the Rockies known as the overthrust belt.
“There’s no reason not to expect Bakken oil in NW Montana,” said Johnson. “Landslide Butte has more shale than Elm Coulee.” Landslide Butte is located in Glacier County, to the northeast of Browning. Elm Coulee is the legendary Bakken oil field in eastern Montana, the area of some of the most prolific wells in the state.
Addressing the issue of why exploration firms drilling in NW Montana have had difficulty finding the sweet spot while Canadian firms such as Shell Canada, DeeThree and Crescent Point enjoy success on the north side of the border, Johnson commented, “There is something going on as you cross the [Canadian] border, and I don’t think it’s the geology that has changed.”