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The Natural Gas Problem


"North Dakota oil fever" was growing in 1939, with three new oil rigs slated to be built in Morton and Slope Counties that summer.

One New York prospector warned a reporter, however, that major oil companies might shy away from extensive drilling in North Dakota. The problem? How to dispose of any natural gas they might discover.

"I wonder if it has ever occurred to North Dakotans that they could sell natural gas," said the un-named businessman. And then he prophesied – seventy years ago today: "North Dakota will [someday] see millions of dollars spent here, and a tremendous development of this natural resource, if outlets can be found for the millions of cubic feet of natural gas that underlie these prairies."

By Merry Helm


The Bismarck Tribune. 7 Feb 1939:5.