North Dakota may be going the way of the Beverly Hillbillies. No, the state isn’t going to cram into an old car and head West, but it does appear that the state has struck black gold — Texas Tea ... Oil that is.

The Associated Press is reporting that a huge oil formation in the southwestern part of the state is drawing major interest. The story compares the North Dakota formation to the Bakken shale formation, a giant reserve that lies under parts of Montana, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. This formation, known as the Tyler Formation, is reported to lie above the Bakken formation and is so large that it encompasses “nearly all of western and southwestern North Dakota and extends into South Dakota."

The AP story quotes North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources geologist Stephan Nordeng as saying the Tyler formation is likely to be “one-third to one-half the size of the Bakken in terms of coverage area and oil reserves.” Already, some officials are saying this reserve could contain more than 4 billion barrels of recoverable oil using current extraction technology.

It will be interesting to see if this news has any effect on the now-delayed TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, which was set to carry crude from Alberta through the Dakotas and Montana and to the Gulf Coast. While that project is now delayed, an earlier pipeline, the Keystone Pipeline, has already been completed and carries oil from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Dakotas, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas.

So, keep an eye on North Dakota. The state may be poised to expand its energy portfolio. After all, it may be sitting on top of two black gold mines.

North Dakota sitting on a (black) gold mine
A huge oil reserve under the western part of the state is drawing interest, according to reports.