Bakken, other shale plays 'recovering' from downturn

Jul 18, 2017

Mike Filloon, Analyst and Founder, Hartstreet LLC, presents to the "Bakken Vs. the World" seminar.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The program director for the Bakken Conference and Expo – being held in Bismarck this week – said after a few years of being on “pause,” the Bakken – and other shale plays around the country – are rebounding.

"I think there's definitely a sense in the industry that they're more comfortable with where oil prices are and what that means," said Luke Geiver, editor of North American Shale Magazaine. "You hear the term 'cautiously optimistic.' And whether it's in Hobbs, NM, Midland, TX or Watford City, ND, I think that's the term."

That “cautious optimism” is reflected in job openings in the Williston Basin.

"There are help wanted signs out all over," said Cindy Sanford with Job Service North Dakota’s Williston office. Sanford said in McKenzie, Williams and Divide Counties there are “a couple of thousand” open jobs. The challenge in filling those jobs?

"Lack of experience," said Sanford. "The other thing that's happening is we're seeing a higher skill set. It's no longer just labor."

Sanford said the companies are still willing to train workers.

"But companies are looking for a higher, mechanical, computerized skill set than before," Sanford said.

The Bakken conference runs through Wednesday.