Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 580-6890.
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RAY -- The oil industry threw a thank you party Tuesday for communities in the heart of oil development. Thirteen teams with the Bakken Rocks Cookfest event prepared everything from ribs to jambalaya to banana pudding for residents from Ray and the surrounding communities. Organizers estimated that more than 1,200 people attended the free event. The event is part of the North Dakota Petroleum Council's Oil Can!
WILLISTON -- Mary Catherine Moore came to Williston in June hoping to spend a year working a high-paying job. Last week, the 50-year-old gave away her camper, got a $40 gas voucher from the Salvation Army and headed back to Texas. "I tried it," Moore said. "It's not for me." Moore had been unemployed in Houston after her jobs working in computer support were outsourced overseas.
WILLISTON -- A boost in the workforce helped Williams County add 66 producing oil wells in May, increasing daily production by more than 21,000 barrels that month, the latest figures show. The significant jump -- a 23 percent increase in oil production over April -- was due to additional crews that do hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, said Lynn Helms, director of Mineral Resources. Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are injected under high pressure to form tiny fractures in the rock to extract the oil. With the additional crews working in Williams County,
Environmental violations at a fracking waste water disposal well near Dickinson that threatened drinking water in Stark County have prompted North Dakota's largest civil case and the first ever criminal case against an oil and gas operator. The company, Halek Operating ND LLC, faces up to $1.5 million in fines for injecting salt water used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, into the disposal site after having been told to stop because the site was not up to state standards.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission is pursuing its largest civil case and its first ever criminal case against an oil and gas operator accused of breaking environmental protection rules. A civil complaint alleges that Halek Operating ND LLC operated a salt water disposal well near Dickinson, in violation of its permit. The complaint also alleges that Halek used the disposal well after being notified of a violation. The complaint seeks more than $1.5 million in fines. A criminal complaint charges Nathan Garber of Executive Drilling LLC with a Class C felony.
WATFORD CITY -- The post office here closes for an hour each day, but you won't find Postmaster Jason Hirst taking a leisurely lunch. After two longtime employees left, Hirst was forced to close the window from 12:30 to 1:30 each day just so he can get some work done. Hirst, who has been Watford City's postmaster for about a year, said he was not prepared for how fast he has to work all day long to keep up with the booming city. "It never seems to slow down. When you're not working the window, you're helping sort mail.
WILLISTON -- Residents of one of Williston's newest neighborhoods now have an up-close view of a drilling rig. Statoil is drilling four wells in northwest Williston, adjacent to many homes and a developing residential area. For Fargo man Chuck Horejsi, who is renting a room in a house near the rig this summer, seeing the derrick from his bedroom window is unusual. "Only in Williston," Horejsi said, laughing.
WILLISTON -- United Airlines announced Tuesday it will add flights between Williston and Denver, but letting the planes land was still up to the City Commission, which must balance short-term need for air service and long-term plans for its airport. One consideration with adding the United flights is the weight of the jets. At 48,000 pounds, they are nearly double the current 25,000 pound weight restriction on the runway at Sloulin Field International Airport. Increasing the weight limit reduces the lifespan of the runway.
TIOGA -- For Donald Widner, home, sweet home, is a purple school bus. The 49-year-old is chasing high-paying jobs in the Oil Patch, and his refurbished school bus is where he prefers to hang his hard hat. "People ask if it's a party bus," said Widner, who has been sober for seven years. "I say 'No, this is the work house.'" Widner, of St.