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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TIOGA -- Kathy Neset may be the only oilfield geologist who uses a bendable drinking straw as a key tool for her job. The Tioga woman uses the straw to educate people about horizontal drilling, one of the technologies that's unlocked the Bakken and made North Dakota the second-highest oil-producing state. With the whole world interested in knowing more about what's happening in North Dakota, Neset is in high demand to inform visiting federal officials and local residents about the state's geology and the technology making the boom possible. "I love sharing the story of this Bakken and then
WATFORD CITY -- The chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources said Friday he's not in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach to regulating energy. Sen.
WILLISTON -- The elevated price of oil due to the crisis in Syria is creating extra urgency to develop the Bakken, says a certified trading adviser. Eugene Graner, president of Heartland Investor Capital Management in Bismarck, said the price of oil, which hovered around $108 Thursday after peaking at $112 last week, assures aggressive drilling in North Dakota. "The Syrian conflict keeps the prices at an elevated level that helps keep the excitement level in the Bakken moving at a rate that would be higher than normal," Graner said. The price is not elevated because Syria is a significant o
WILLISTON -- While several speakers touted the need for more housing here Wednesday at an economic development summit, one speaker said the county is so backlogged with proposals it's taking a six-month timeout. More than 200 people attended the Williston Summit, focused on educating investors, developers and others about the opportunities in the Bakken. Dan Kalil, chairman of the Williams County Commission, told participants the county is taking a six-month timeout on approving major subdivisions. The county had been so short-staffed it developed a six- to eight-month backlog of applicatio
WILLISTON -- A state-of-the art drilling simulator is helping Bakken oil and gas operators work more safely. The TrainND workforce training program at Williston State College houses a full-sized drilling simulator used to train supervisor-level oil industry employees. The only other equivalent simulators are at training centers in Texas, Louisiana and Abu Dhabi, said TrainND petroleum instructor Dave Bartenhagen. "It's a pretty neat piece of equipment," he said.
WILLISTON -- Well control incidents -- or blowouts -- are increasing in the Bakken, prompting regulators to take action. North Dakota has had 23 well control incidents in the past year, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. "That's up significantly," said Lynn Helms, director of the department. An uncontrolled well, or a blowout, is the highest-risk failure in the oil and gas business, Helms said.
MINOT -- Mike Gietzen sells so many white pickups to the oil industry, he added the word white to his email address. North Dakota's oil boom has meant big business for auto dealers, but staying ahead of the demand can be tricky, said the commercial sales professional for Ryan Chevrolet in Minot. "It's crazy and it's fun, but it can be maddening," Gietzen said. Down the street at Minot's Ford dealership, Hank Ripplinger, commercial fleet manager for Westlie Motor Co., said many oil companies will buy up to 12 pickups at a time, but he's had some orders exceed 100. "It's a fast business," Ri
WILLISTON - Jeff Winslow spent a week this summer working on a drilling rig, earning as much as he did in his first two months teaching middle school in Williston. Winslow, a 30-year-old health teacher, didn't continue with the oil industry job, opting to stick with his passion. But he finds that it's tough to survive on a teacher's salary in a town where rent and other expenses have risen with the oil boom. Winslow, who is married with a 17-month-old son, said his situation is "bearable" because he earns more with a master's degree and for coaching three sports.
WILLISTON -- In the middle of a crew camp that houses North Dakota oil workers, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor got an earful about agriculture. Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, toured the Bakken on Wednesday to see North Dakota's energy production firsthand, but he also talked one-on-one with Cando farmer Gene Nicholas about the state's other leading industry. Nicholas, a retired state legislator, said he came away from the discussion with confidence that a farm bill "that we can live with" will be passed this year. The Senate has passed a farm bill that deals with farm programs as we
WATFORD CITY -- A German photographer is capturing the Bakken through an artist's eyes. Andy Scholz, an art photography faculty member from Regensburg University in Germany, is spending several weeks in North Dakota working on a project about the oil boom. The project is a cultural exchange funded by the German Consulate. In addition to showing his work in Germany, Scholz will have an exhibition at The Rourke Art Gallery Museum in Moorhead, Minn., in fall of 2014. Scholz said he has a friend in Fargo and he's long wanted to visit North Dakota.