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Published March 17, 2012, 04:01 PM

NDSU studying material for oil and gas exploration

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Scientists at North Dakota State University are analyzing materials that could play a role in North Dakota oil and gas exploration.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Scientists at North Dakota State University are analyzing materials that could play a role in North Dakota oil and gas exploration.

The Forum reports that NDSU's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering is analyzing 198 samples of clay from various points in North Dakota to determine their suitability for use in hydraulic fracturing.

The clay could be used in the hydraulic fracturing process to keep fractures open.

The work is being done as part of a research agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey in Bismarck.

The testing is expected to take about five months.

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, chemicals and grit underground at high pressure to create and prop open cracks in oil-bearing rock. That promotes the flow of oil.

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