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Image: Tim Whitlow via Flickr

Top Bakken news stories – April 23-May 6

The weekly Bakken recap was put on hiatus last week due to forgetfulness and we humbly apologize. To make up for lost time, we reached back a couple weeks. However, it turns out the week we missed was rather uneventful for the Bakken. This past week, however, was exciting for a variety of reasons, most of them not good (i.e. wildfires, lost profits, and wastewater spills). In other news, there is Donald Trump. Twice. Check out the list below to find out what our readers found the most engaging these past couple weeks. Make it to the bottom to collect your bonus — 5 oilfield jobs still in demand in 2016. Enjoy!

5. Residents evacuated as fires threaten Canadian oil sands town

Canada oil sands, fire

Smoke fills the air as people drive on a road in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. At least half of a northern Alberta city was ordered evacuated Tuesday as a wildfire whipped by winds engulfed homes and sent ash raining down on residents. (Greg Halinda/The Canadian Press via AP)

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) — A raging wildfire emptied Canada’s main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.

About 88,000 residents successfully evacuated as flames moved into the city surrounded by wilderness in the heart of Canada’s oil sands. No injuries have been reported.

To read more about the evacuations of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, click here.

4. Western North Dakota oil refinery hampered by oil slowdown

The site of the Dakota Prairie Refinery about 4 miles west of Dickinson is shown before construction was complete, on Oct. 19, 2013. (Photo courtesy of MSU Resources Group)

The site of the Dakota Prairie Refinery about 4 miles west of Dickinson is shown before construction was complete, on Oct. 19, 2013. (Photo courtesy of MSU Resources Group)

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The owners of a new oil refinery in western North Dakota plan to operate it at only 75 percent capacity due to continued losses tied to the slumping oil industry.

The Dakota Prairie Refinery at Dickinson lost $7.2 million in the first three months of the year, due in part to low demand for diesel fuel, according to North Dakota-based MDU Resources Group Inc.

“We are disappointed with market conditions that continue to challenge our refinery investment,” MDU Resources President and CEO David Goodin said in the company’s first quarter earnings report.

To read more about the Dakota Prairie Refinery, click here.

3. Fracking related spills cause pervasive soil & water contamination

In this photo taken Jan. 12, 2015, crews dig up land at a saltwater spill site near Blacktail Creek outside Williston, N.D. A North Dakota health official called the 70,000 barrel spill the state's largest during the state's current oil boom. (AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson)

In this photo taken Jan. 12, 2015, crews dig up land at a saltwater spill site near Blacktail Creek outside Williston, N.D. A North Dakota health official called the 70,000 barrel spill the state’s largest during the state’s current oil boom. (AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson)

Brine spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins into soils and waterways, sometimes at levels exceeding federal water quality standards, scientists reported Wednesday.

Samples taken from surface waters affected by waste spills in recent years in the state’s Bakken oilfield region turned up high levels of lead, ammonium, selenium and other contaminants, Duke University researchers said. Additionally, they found that some spills had tainted land with radium, a radioactive element.

To read more about the Duke University study, click here.

2. Exxon sees smallest profit in 16 years, Chevron posts loss

Exxon sees smallest profit in 16 years, Chevron posts loss

FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, file photo, gas prices are displayed at a Chevron gas station in Sacramento, Calif. Chevron reports financial results Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

DALLAS (AP) — Motorists are saving billions on cheaper gasoline, but the long slump in oil prices is taking a heavy toll on companies that find and produce crude.

Exxon Mobil posted its smallest quarterly profit in more than 16 years Friday, while Chevron lost $725 million, its worst showing since 2002, and raised the number of jobs it expects to cut this year from 7,000 to 8,000. Other oil companies are expected to report weak earnings in the next few days.

To read more about Exxon and Chevron, click here.

1. Harold Hamm endorses Donald Trump for president

harold hamm endorses donald trump

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm endorses Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump. (Image: David Shankbone [Hamm] and Gage Skidmore [Trump] via Flickr)

On Friday Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm endorsed Donald Trump for the 2016 Presidential Race, according to Reuters.Hamm, a shale industry pioneer and Mitt Romney’s 2012 energy adviser, called the real estate mogul a “business leader’s candidate” and that Trump has the “fortitude to make tough decisions.”In a public letter, Hamm wrote, “The next president of the United States must have the courage, determination and intelligence to disrupt politics as usual.”

To read more about Hamm’s endorsement, click here.

1/2. Donald Trump to speak at North Dakota oil expo in Bismarck

Donald Trump is now scheduled to speak at the 2016 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. (Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Donald Trump is now scheduled to speak at the 2016 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. (Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been tabbed as the keynote speaker for the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference that will be held later this month in Bismarck, an oil industry group said Wednesday.

The Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is scheduled for May 24-26 at the Bismarck Civic Center. North DakotaPetroleum Council President Ron Ness said Trump is slated to speak at 1 p.m. on the final day.

“I think it’s very exciting to have what looks like the Republican presidential nominee come to North Dakota to provide some details to the extent possible on issues that impact North Dakota,” Ness said.

To read more about Trump’s keynote address, click here. For more information about the 2016 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, click here.

Bonus – 5 oilfield jobs still in demand in 2016

Oil workers on the floor of an oil and gas drilling rig operating in Alberta, Canada. (Image courtesy of Encana Corp)

Oil workers on the floor of an oil and gas drilling rig operating in Alberta, Canada. (Image courtesy of Encana Corp)

Extended periods of plummeting oil prices have had a noticeable effect on the oil industry, with many oil companies decommissioning multiple rigs during 2015. While the oil industry is no longer being referred to as “booming” by most media outlets, it is not going away completely, and many oilfield jobs are still in demand.

As current workers retire and leave the industry, job openings will continue to open up for new applicants and current workers who want to rise up through the ranks. These five oilfield jobs are still in demand in 2016, and will continue to be in demand as long as oil companies continue operating.

To find out which oilfield jobs are still in demand, click here.

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