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Bakken pumpjacks in harmony with a North Dakota canola field. (Image courtesy of Whiting Petroluem)

Top 5 Bakken stories of the week – March 4 – 11

As Spring creeps in from the south, the plains are humming to life again. Although activity in the Bakken pays no mind to old man winter, some weeks are more exciting than others. This week’s recap offers a healthy mix of maintenance, photojournalism and an embezzlement scandal, as well as a look back in history. Enjoy!

5. BNSF: $100M in maintenance work planned in North Dakota

BNSF trains lined up in a railyard. The rail service company is planning to spend $100 million on maintenance in North Dakota this year. (Image: Todd Lappin via Flickr - CC2.0)

BNSF trains lined up in a railyard. The rail service company is planning to spend $100 million on maintenance in North Dakota this year. (Image: Todd Lappin via Flickr – CC2.0)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — BNSF Railway Co. says it will invest more than $100 million this year in North Dakota as part of its capital expenditure program.

The railroad says this year’s plan in North Dakota is primarily focused on maintenance projects.

To read more about BNSF’s plans for North Dakota, click here.

4. Oil Boom Boys photos show industry brotherhood and community

Bakken Heavy Equipment

Oil Boom Boys. Photo: Chris Rusanowsky.

Oil Boom Boys is based on the documentation of young men working in the oil fields. Chris Rusanowsky, a freelance photojournalist and aspiring conflict correstpondent, moved to North Dakota to seek opportunity to further his career in journalism and to photograph the oil fields.

“As I started working at a frac sand facility I started to talk to the young guys like me, why they decided to leave their homes and come here to find employment,” said Rusanowsky. “We all had similar stories. We needed to make money. Some wanted to make a career or a name for themselves, and others were running away from a dark past. I grew to understand what the oil fields were really about… brotherhood and community.”

To see more of Chris Rusanowsky’s works, click here.

3. Anadarko cutting spending almost in half, selling assets

Anadarko cutting spending almost in half, selling assets

Allison Tower. World Headquarters for Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Anadarko will sell more assets and reduce by nearly half its spending on oil and natural gas exploration this year.

One of the world’s biggest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies, Anadarko said Tuesday it will cut capital expenditures this year to between $2.6 billion and $2.8 billion, from about $5.5 billion last year.

To read more about Anadarko’s plans for the coming year, click here.

2. First oil flows from Alaska reserve set aside in ’23

This Feb. 9, 2016, photo shows a million-pound drilling rig at the CD5 drilling site on Alaska's North Slope. ConocoPhillips in October 2015 became the first to drill for oil in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a region the size of Indiana set aside by President Warren G. Harding in 1923. Getting to this point took compromises with Alaska Natives while keeping environmental concerns in mind. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

This Feb. 9, 2016, photo shows a million-pound drilling rig at the CD5 drilling site on Alaska’s North Slope. ConocoPhillips in October 2015 became the first to drill for oil in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a region the size of Indiana set aside by President Warren G. Harding in 1923. Getting to this point took compromises with Alaska Natives while keeping environmental concerns in mind. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

1. Oil patch company says subcontractor stole $1.4 million

Oil patch company says subcontractor stole $1.4 million

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A trucking company in the North Dakota oil patch is accusing a subcontractor of embezzling about $1.4 million over a four-year period. The defendants say the complaint is bogus and blame hard times in the energy industry.

Running Horse LLC, of New Town, has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against the owners of Rodenbough Trucking and Excavating, Inc., or RTE, of Surrey. Court documents accuse Jessie Rodenbough and her husband, Matthew, of stealing the money through wire transfers, unauthorized checks and false reimbursement claims.

To read more about the embezzlement accusation, click here.

Bonus – Famous oil gushers around the world

Lakeview Gusher via Wikimedia Commons

Lakeview Gusher via Wikimedia Commons

Oil gushers are icons of early energy exploration. Once a common sight at the turn of the century, gushers have faded into history.

Though they could be a spectacular sight, gushers were dangerous and wasteful. Uncapped wells produced large amounts of oil, often times shooting hundreds of feet into the air. One spark could ignite the oil, creating a column of fire and black smoke.

To read more about iconic oil gushers throughout history, click here.

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