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Published May 24, 2012, 03:35 PM

North Dakota drillers aiming for sandy section below Bakken

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The rich Bakken and Three Forks formations have fueled North Dakota's unprecedented oil rush. And now drillers are increasingly aiming for crude in a sandy layer between the two.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The rich Bakken and Three Forks formations have fueled North Dakota's unprecedented oil rush. And now drillers are increasingly aiming for crude in a sandy layer between the two.

State geologist Julie LeFever says the so-called Pronghorn member is more correctly part of the Bakken formation than the Three Forks. Previously, the layer of sand was attributed to the Three Forks formation below, and often referred to as the Three Forks-Sanish.

Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corp. already has several horizontal wells aimed at Pronghorn in western North Dakota, and initial results are positive

Company chairman and CEO James Volker says some wells were pumping at rates "every bit as good" as the Bakken.

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