Friday, September 20, 2013

North Dakota Oil Boom

Last weekend I spent a day with my parents touring the area around Stanley, Tioga and New Town North Dakota.  My Great Aunt Bertha had asthma and moved up to Tioga before the first oil boom because the air was drier.  She then became quite the business woman and worked as a liaison between the local farmers and the petroleum companies during the first boom.  Fortunately for my family, she also had the foresight to buy some land.

It was very interesting to see all the infrastructure development over the Baaken formation. They need a lot of electricity, water, gas pipelines, train loading depots and everything else that is needed to support the rapid population increase.  From my description you might think the area is becoming highly populated, well not really...  Remember that this is ~1000 square miles of pretty widen open spaces and crop fields.  Also once a well is up and pumping, there isn't much to it, just a pumper and 4 or 5 holding tanks.

The man camps were kind of interesting structures, they reminded me some of a habitrail for hamsters.  However as you can see from the video they seem pretty nice inside.

For more details on where the rigs are you can access the ND Oil and Gas Site.  And then you can select their GIS Map Server which shows every well (old & current), the path of the horizontal drilling, every active drilling unit and more.  Apparently ND gets ~11% of whatever comes out of the ground, so all the citizens should be pretty happy.  And the land owners are really happy since they get somewhere between 1/6 & 1/8 depending on the terms.  I met some of the locals and they reminded me a lot of Jed Clampett, real nice conservative folks who have a little extra unplanned for income coming in.

Here is a video that explains fracking.  And here is a discussion of some of the claims regarding fracking.  So now it is your turn, what do you think of what is happening in NW ND? Good, bad, indifferent?

FYI, I fly out for Shanghai China at ~11 AM tomorrow. And then I continue on to Chongqing, probably the biggest city you have never heard of.  Apparently they have some significant growing pains and poverty that the Chinese government is working to address.  I probably won't have much time for touring however I am sure it will be an experience.  In case you note my posting or commenting at strange times, now you'll know why.  Wish me luck !!!


jerrye92002 said...

Chongging is a fascinating city, with futuristic buildings near some awful poverty, and a lot of people desperate for work and the basics of living. Enjoy, and give us some cultural observations while you're there.

John said...

Definitely. After ~20 hours of travel I am now in Shanghai. It was dark during the taxi ride. The Hilton is nice though...

jerrye92002 said...

Shanghai even more wonderful. If you get a chance, ask the Hilton to get you a taxi to the Temple of the Jade Buddha. It costs a buck or two to get in. The hotel's business card will get you a taxi back.

John said...

I figured I would get at least a couple of anti-fracking comments. Oh well.