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Published January 11, 2011, 01:40 PM

Shallow natural gas found across ND

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Geologists have discovered "significant" shallow natural gas deposits in North Dakota that occur outside traditional fossil fuel-producing areas of the state.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Geologists have discovered "significant" shallow natural gas deposits in North Dakota that occur outside traditional fossil fuel-producing areas of the state.

The North Dakota Geological Survey says it detected shallow natural gas in 52 of the state's 53 counties. State Geologist Ed Murphy says it's a prospect that eventually could lead to energy development well beyond the booming oil- and coal-producing regions in western North Dakota.

The agency released its findings this month after a five-year, $65,000 study.

Geologists have long suspected that North Dakota holds shallow gas deposits based on reports of gas emanating from water wells.

Officials began collecting anecdotes in 2006 from North Dakotans who claimed water from their faucets could be set afire. Dozens of incidents were recorded and helped researchers pinpoint potential deposits.

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