Last year on our first visit to North Dakota we found the impact of the Bakken oil fields utterly amazing. Although we’ve heard and read that exploration and production are down this year due to oil prices it’s hard to believe from what we see today. Every few miles there is evidence of new drilling and pumps are pumping away – sometimes one or two but sometimes as many as a dozen in a tightly-spaced row.
Traffic in the area is horrendous. Roads engineered and built to link rural towns, often narrow without paved shoulders, now serve thousands of drilling and well sites. The vast majority of vehicles are large commercial trucks hauling water, sand, pipes, heavy machinery and oil – in a hurry and hugging the center line.
Williston is a hub city for much of the activity. Driving through town we realize how many types of services are needed to support this industry. Everyone has tales of how the town has grown and changed. We hear of rents as high as $3,000/month for a two-bedroom apartment. Last year when Bob wanted an oil change in the car we were told that we’d need an appointment – first available slot was three months out. And, the same was true for a haircut.