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A new drilling technique called pad drilling reduces the overall footprint of land cover change caused by the industry. Several horizontal well bores are drilled from a single larger pad. Pad drilling became more widespread in 2010 and now accounts for about 75% of all new wells. While the number of wells drilled can increase, the land requirement for increased production is not as extensive. Furthermore, other infrastructure, such as roads and pipelines, are reduced overall.

Pad drilling also has the benefit of more wells being drilled in less time. A significant area of underground resources can be tapped with minimal impact on the surface. Even as the number of new drilling wells slows, production can continue to increase.


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Bakken Region Drilling Productivity Report (U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2018)


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