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Oil companies want to 'grow their own' workforce

Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms at his "Director's Cut" briefing
Dave Thompson
Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms at his "Director's Cut" briefing

North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Director said says oil companies are predicting growth in oil production in the Bakken later this year.

But Lynn Helms said the companies are predicting slow growth.

"Everybody's talking basically the same thing," Helms said. "Third quarter of this year, we're going to see some significant increases in activity, but it'll be one or two percent growth."

Helms said one reason for that is – companies are having trouble finding workers.

"They have already increased hourly wages $10 an hour," Helms said. "That hasn't flipped the switch."

Helms said the oil companies have gone back to 'super-commuters' for frack crews — meaning that people who live someplace else come to North Dakota for two weeks to work on a frack crew.

"That's not the most desirable thing," Helms said.

Helms said industry would like to train local workers. He said they’re looking at the Career and Technical Education Centers in Dickinson, Williston, Watford City and Minot.

"We're going to make an enormous effort to get juniors and seniors in high school to intern, and get the training," Helms said. "Then they will have the capability of going to work in the oil field the day after they walk across the stage and get their diplomas."

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