North Dakota may have more oil than the volatile Persian Gulf, but the rush to extract it must be carefully managed to protect the region. Right now things are out of balance.

Continental Resources, an Oklahoma-based oil company which operates 10 percent of the drilling rigs in North Dakota, estimates there are more than 900 billion barrels of oil in place, but only between 27 and 45 billion barrels are actually recoverable with today’s technology. By comparison, the Central Intelligence Agency indicates there are 747 billion barrels of proven reserves in the Persian Gulf.