April 21, 2021

Great Plains Bakken Riches Describe New Wealth, New Risk

GLENDIVE, MT — Myrna Quale and Laura Glueckert own and manage  The Enchanted Room here in this Dawson County town of 4,700 residents close by the border with North Dakota. In the last nine months, they said in an interview, business in their W. Towne Street fabric and floral gifts store has picked up 15 to 20  percent, “and we had a good business to start with,” said Quale. “I view it as a positive …

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Bakken and Other Big Oil and Gas Plays Produced 200,000 New Jobs Since 2005

WILLISTON, N.D. — A pad of ice four inches thick greeted Ron Ivory on a clear and cold December morning at the busy water depot south of town. Ivory is 47 years old, a stocky and bearded truck driver from Vernal, Utah, with 23 years in the business. He’s been in North Dakota two weeks, working 14 hour days and earning $25 an hour hauling fresh water, 130 barrels a load, to oil production sites. …

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Is American Energy Exploration and Production Breaking the Great Recession?

WILLISTON, ND — The Saturday morning earlier this month that Scott Terrell and I had breakfast at Gramma Sharon’s Family Restaurant, every seat was taken by roughnecks and drivers fueling up before heading out to work this state’s giant oil patch. The line of customers waiting to pay their bills was so long I did something I rarely do on reporting trips. I left cash on the table and utterly violated the ethos expressed on …

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Bakken Oil Wells Surround North Dakota National Park

MEDORA, ND — Buck Hill is one of the tallest points in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which spreads across more than 70,000 acres of grass and tight canyons where North Dakota meets South Dakota and Montana. Several weeks ago Valerie Naylor, the park superintendent, hiked to the summit and counted six oil drilling platforms within eyesight. In the next few months more rigs will surround the park’s boundaries. With them will come open waste pits …

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Boom in Bakken Oil Play, and Elsewhere Starting to Drive U.S. Economy

WILLISTON, ND — After dark beyond Williston’s last lit living room, and heading east on state highway 1804, North Dakota’s landscape turns alien. Steel towers of active oil drilling rigs, flooded by lights as bright as a sports stadium, flank every steep rise. The orange flare gas fires, like 20-foot birthday flames, break the pitch dark of every plunge into deep valleys. The sound of ceaseless prairie winds, and big trucks hauling water and drilling …

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In North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Field, The Smell of Diesel, the Sound of Trucks

WILLISTON, ND — Past midnight at the station platform in Spokane, 850 miles east of this riotous Great Plains city riding the lashing tail of an oil drilling dragon, the roustabouts and heavy equipment operators kiss wives and girlfriends, then reluctantly board Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Twenty-one day shifts, 14 hours a day, in wind-whipped cold and in a perilous work zone that can maim or kill has a way of quelling enthusiasm — even when …

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