The Bakken shale has been dubbed the most significant fossil fuel discovery in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Some estimates place the recoverable reserves as high as 24 billion barrels, which would be enough to meet U.S demand for approximately three years. This fertile oil field is attracting interest from drillers as the frenzy to feed America's oil fix continues.

Absent a substantial drop in oil prices, drillers in the Bakken should do well. So without further ado, let's meet the drillers.

Bakken shale stocks
Continental Resources
(NYSE: CLR) is the top producer in the Bakken shale. The company operates 21 rigs and holds more than 800,000 acres in the oil-rich field. Continental aims to triple production and reserves by 2014, which could result in great earnings over the next several quarters.

GeoResources (Nasdaq: GEOI) holds 45,000 total acres in the Bakken and is continually searching for more leasing opportunities to bolster its position in this coveted shale play. GeoResources' one-year chart is a thing of beauty. Momentum investors will love this stock; value investors might want to wait for a pullback. 

My favorite Bakken shale play is Brigham Exploration (Nasdaq: BEXP), which holds more than 300,000 acres in the Bakken shale. Brigham's revenues surged 135% in 2010 due to a rapid increase in production. Brigham is not slowing down either. The company plans to nearly double daily production in 2011. Brigham's impressive results are fueling big-oil buyout rumors as a means to gain exposure to this profitable shale play.

The bottom line
The Bakken shale offers an exciting investment opportunity. If you believe high oil prices are here to stay, drillers in this region should perform nicely.