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ND looking for oil workers in the Gulf Coast region

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The oil patch in western North Dakota is short of workers. And the state's top oil regulator says the Gulf Coast might be able to help.

State Oil and Gas division director Lynn Helms says North Dakota's oil industry has been advertising for workers in other states -- and now will advertise for workers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It's an oil producing region, and Helms says many oil workers may be temporarily out of a job, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

"We're not necessarily looking at taking their people and keeping them permanently," said Helms. "These are people whose current jobs are inactive -- the refineries are down, the oil field is down, whatever. They need employment. We're looking at it as if -- how can we help these people out while at the same time helping out the state of North Dakota?"

Katrina damaged a number of oil refineries, drilling platforms and pipelines. And many will take months to repair.