Geological research is currently being done to figure out the potential for an oil boom along the Rocky Mountain Front.

No matter what the geological studies show, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says this area is a step ahead, thanks to the location of Great Falls.

Patrick Montalban, CEO of Mountainview Energy in Cut Bank, says he has every intention of drilling horizontal wells in the South Alberta Bakken.

But as a small company, they have to let the bigger oil companies do the research. Mountainview knows the oil has been there and is still there, but it’s uncertain to what degree.

Montalban noted, “At one time, Cut Bank, Montana, was a very active oil and gas business in the 20s, 30s, literally in the 50s and all the way through the 60s and 70s.”

But when it comes to Bakken oil, it takes geological research into depths, temperatures, and even faults. All those pieces play key parts in whether the Alberta Bakken will boom like the Williston Basin in eastern Montana and North Dakota.

But the MT Department of Environmental Quality says based on the location of towns, they say not much prep is needed when it comes to infrastructure.

Steve Killbreath of DEQ said, “You know it’s close, and we can get to Conrad, we can get to Shelby and work with those communities. It’s really hard to get out to eastern Montana. ”

In the eastern Montana towns of Sidney, Bainville, and Plentywood, the nearest big town, Killbreath says, is Billings at 300 miles away.

So as the DEQ reacts to the boom in eastern Montana, they say the proactive move to prep north-central Montana isn’t needed.

Unlike the eastern side of the state, Great Falls is just 100 miles away from the potential oil fields.

Killbreath said, “If you were to develop an oilfield in Teton County, you could have people living in Great Falls and you’d have the infrastructure to take them.”

Though the infrastructure may be up to par, Montalban says it’s still too early to guarantee massive amounts of oil rigs sprouting up along the Front. He says looking at the Bakken location so close to the mountains, he’s guessing the South Alberta Bakken won’t have a boom as big as the one eastern Montana’s experiencing.

Montalban observed, “We don’t think it’s going to be as it is in the Williston Basin and the reason why we say that is just because it’s different geologically.”

But for a smaller company like Mountainview, they say the benefit in acquiring land so close to home is still worth their investment, even if the area doesn’t boom as big as the Williston Basin.

Mountainview Energy currently owns 70,000 acres in the South Alberta Bakken area, and they plan to add to that acreage.

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