Minot News

Higher oil prices will benefit the Bakken and surrounding communities

Oil companies have had to adapt to many market changes over the years, sometimes excitedly and other times unfortunately.

Now, oil prices have steadily been at or above 60 dollars a barrel, a number that hasn't been seen for about the past three years.

Forbes magazine predicts that prices could grow to be even higher, but one local industry worker said that he's not getting too excited about the future. For now, he's focused on what the current prices could mean for a possible 'mini boom' in the Bakken.

"Over the last 6-12 months we've seen a steady climb out," President and co-founder at Creedence Energy Services, Kevin Black, said.

He added that seeing that consistent prices for oil means the economy is heading in the right direction. 

"When oil is strong, that means jobs from shopping to restaurants, and everything in between," Black said. "Financial services, all those types of folks are going to see an increase in activity just because there's going to be more folks moving in, more folks making investments in the communities."

With rising prices, opportunities are up as well, but there are some challenges that come with the expansion.

Since the most recent downturn, how will the industry get workers to come back to North Dakota?

"For us it's all about the culture," said Black. "We want to create a place where people want to come to work, they enjoy coming to work, they have fun, they feel like they're part of something and they take ownership of what they're doing."

While the current price of oil is good for operators, that could mean we pay more at the pump. But, Black said the potential trade off is well worth it.

"When you see folks going back to work, see folks with good paying jobs, when you see great activity on Main Street where it's been down for a long time, those are good things for the state of North Dakota, despite any increase you might see at the pump."

The steady oil prices could have a beneficial impact on our economy, but some people in town say that there's pros and cons to that local growth.

Jim Mariner said, "when the boom first came in, everything kind of went up. You know, in prices, and that kind of thing, even crime."

Darick Bell said​​​, "hopefully it'd be good business, but it could bring all the bad elements back with it too, so."

"It's a mixed blessing, I think," Mariner added. "But it helps some of the people that have gotten laid off, you know, in the oil field."
 


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