Shale drilling puts Williston, North Dakota, on the map

Nighttime satellite photography from NASA of one of the most rural parts of the United States shows a blaze of activity resulting from shale drilling in North Dakota's Bakken Formation, NPR reports. The lights are not a town, but rigs and natural gas flares from the one hundred and fifty oil companies that altogether are "producing 660,000 barrels a day – double the output two years ago." Aside from illustrating the industry's tremendous influence on a formerly sleepy town, the light also exemplifies the fact that 29 percent of all natural gas extracted in the state is flared off so that drillers can reach the more profitable oil deposits, the article said (See the Oct 03, 2011, blog, "Oil companies flare significant amounts of natural gas produced in North Dakota"). For more, read the full NPR story.