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By Ernest Scheyder
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Reuters) – In a basement lab of a North Dakota research center, Beth Kurz and an assistant are peering through a scanning electron microscope, studying samples from the state’s vast Bakken shale oil formation.
Kurz, a hydrogeologist, is part of a team, which looks at using carbon dioxide to coax more oil out of wells that have already been hydraulically fractured, or fracked, in the process of extracting oil from shale rocks.
“No one is sure just yet how this process can work in the Bakken,” said Kurz. “We’re hoping to crack that riddle.”
While energy firms around the world slash spending and cut jobs in response to crashing oil prices, research institutions and companies across North America are not letting up in their efforts to make production more efficient.