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Black Gold


Between 1924 and 1951, twenty-three serious attempts were made to discover oil in the Williston Basin without success. Finally, in 1951, oil was struck on the Clarence Iverson farm south of Tioga. A month later, “…thirty million acres of [the state] were under lease.” On this date in 1952, the Standard Oil Company announced plans to build a refinery in North Dakota, capable of processing 15,000 barrels of oil per day. But when Service Pipeline announced it would build a pipeline to the refinery from the fields, Standard Oil doubled the size of the refinery, building one that would process 30,000 barrels daily. Costing $30 million, the refinery opened in Mandan in 1954.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


“Oil: Refinery for Williston”, in Time Magazine. Monday, October 11, 1954.