After an extensive and highly successful career as an exploration geologist, Mike Johnson began to work on the Bakken play in the early 2000s. It was his idea to lease 38,000 acres in Mountrail County, North Dakota, 100 miles east of the Middle Bakken Elm Coulee Field in Richland County, Montana. The play was sold to EOG Resources in 2006, and the first wells drilled there proved the concept of the Middle Bakken with the discovery of Parshall Field. Mike made a major, extremely long step out that proved the Bakken was productive over a large area in Montana and North Dakota. Mike’s significant contributions as an explorationist were recognized by the RMAG with its Explorer of the Year Award, and by AAPG with the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award. Subsequently, EOG and other operators have expanded the Bakken play, both regionally and reservoir-wise, to include the Three Forks (regionally) and Pronghorn (locally) zones within the Bakken petroleum system, with reserves in the fifteen billion barrels range.