Oil Boom in North Dakota

5022 Words Jan 23rd, 2013 21 Pages
UNITED STATES

Oil in the Bakken region is boosting local economies but attracting a gritty scene Albertans know well

The strip clubs in Williston, N.D., are the rowdiest that Tatiana, an exotic dancer who has performed in Las Vegas and New York, has ever seen. Oil workers coming off the nearby rigs pack the city 's two clubs, Whispers and Heartbreakers, every night. They smell like work. They wear dirty T-shirts. They fall asleep face first on the bar. And then there are the prostitutes. Tatiana, who asked that her real name not be used, noticed them wandering though the crowd looking for customers on her first night in North Dakota. "They 're not in there to tip the dancers," she says with a laugh.

Williston is the heart of
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Some of those drivers are bound for Estevan, where they load their product onto the CP lines in the middle of town, which, Mayor St. Onge admits, is "a little bit dangerous."
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OR many years, North Dakota has been the least visited state in the Union. There are no real tourist attractions here; Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota. The late news man Eric Sevareid, who was born in North Dakota, called his native state “a large, rectangular blank spot in the nation’s mind.” But reporters from all over the world have been coming here lately, because North Dakota boasts one of the most interesting and exciting stories in the country: an honest-to-goodness boom.
The state has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, at 3.1 percent. Some wonder who could be out of work, given all the “Help Wanted” signs. North Dakota is No. 1 in job growth and No. 1 in income growth. At the heart of this pros¬perity is the Bakken formation, located in the northwestern part of the state. It’s a vast pot of oil. “Bakken,” incidentally, rhymes with “rockin’.” They have a bumper sticker here: “Rockin’ the Bakken.”
Oil was discovered in this area in 1951, but the trick was extracting it. Then, not long ago, came a marriage of two techniques—one older, one newer. The older one was “hy - draulic fracturing,” or “fracking,” for short. This is the method by which oil or natural gas is forced from rock. The newer technique was horizontal
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