Shuvajit Bhattacharya, a doctoral student in West Virginia University’s Department of Geology and Geography has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship for the second straight year from the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts for his research exploring oil extraction from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

“My research will have a direct impact on hydrocarbon prospect generation for further exploration and drilling in the area, which could provide energy security to the concerned community,” Bhattacharya said.

In recent months North Dakota skyrocketed to an all-time high of 1 million barrels of oil per day, becoming the second highest oil producing state in the country. Officials estimate North Dakota will see 7.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in future reserves. Bhattacharya is reviewing rock type, subsurface activity and characteristics to gauge how these geological factors impact oil and gas production.

The wells, he said, are projected to produce oil for the next 30 to 40 years before plummeting down to an unprofitable output.

“The project will provide a comprehensive methodology for Bakken that can be adapted by the industry to provide insight and facilitate further work on other shale resources in the world,” he said.

The Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the advancement of the science of petrophysics and formation evaluation, through well logging and other formation evaluation techniques, and to the application of these techniques to the exploitation of gas, oil and other minerals.

For more information, contact Shuvajit Bhattacharya at