Oil and gas producers show optimism at the WBPC

May 23, 2018

North Dakota Petroleum Council president Ron Ness at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Optimism in North Dakota's oil industry.

"It's extremely high," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. "I'm sure a lot of that is being driven by a better oil price, as well as information from the Energy Information Agency that the Bakken has returned to be the best play for capital investment, in terms of productivity achieved for a single driling rig."

Helms said that’s due to continued improvement in the technology used in the Bakken.

"And all of that will lead to more oil production, longer oil production, bigger impacts on the economy of North Dakota," Helms told reporters.

Helms and North Dakota Petroleum Council president Ron Ness say the big challenge right now is workforce – both in the industry and in other professions.

"We have to continue to bring in new people," Ness said. "Otherwise we're just poaching from each other."

Ness said he believes what will help attract new workers to the Basin will be more single family housing.

"Many of the people here now have their families here," Ness said. "You can see by the growth in schools. And what are they going to want? Single-family houses."

Ness said a large portion of the conference is directed towards developers.

"It's really to show the strength, longevity and vitality of the industry going forward," Ness said. "I think you can come into those western communities today and build affordable single family housing. That's something you couldn't do 4, 5, 6 years ago."