Despite a few tenuous years for our industry, the Bakken is back on track. In 2017, our petroleum industry stared down world markets, and we are emerging stronger and better poised to succeed in 2018. This is thanks largely to the ingenuity and innovation on behalf of the Bakken’s leading men and women, and we’re excited to be featuring many of them at this year’s Williston Basin Petroleum Conference.
Efficiency and innovation have been major hallmarks of the past few years as the industry has figured out how to do more with less in the downturn. Today, our industry is leaner and more technologically advanced than ever before. Today, each drilling rig can do twice the work of rigs of the past, helping stabilize production while reducing impacts. The Bakken was once one of the most expensive plays, but thanks to the ingenuity of our companies, North Dakota now ranks first in rig economics as technology has boosted production per rig. The latest developments in these technologies will be on display in our trade show and will be featured in several of our breakout sessions.
Challenges in the Bakken
The industry is not without its challenges. We still require more infrastructure, especially to capture more natural gas. The depressed market inhibited investment in gas processing and transmission assets. Industry has announced more than 900 million cubic feet per day of new or expanded processing capacity that will help accommodate production in the short-term, but the industry will need to spend $3 to $5 billion or more to meet the state’s more stringent gas capture targets. This, however, also provides opportunity for more great-paying jobs and other sectors to provide the products and services that will be needed to build this infrastructure. It also is a chance for entrepreneurs to showcase their solutions for remote capture and other technologies that will help us with our gas capture in the short-term and in some of our more challenging regions.
In terms of employment, 2014 marked a turning point when the permanent production jobs overtook the more temporary, transient positions. Going forward, production jobs will account for a majority of energy jobs, meaning there will be more people and families calling North Dakota home. In fact, two out of every three people who moved to North Dakota since 2010 have been calling the western side of the state home. While communities have used the last few years as an opportunity to catch up to the frenzied activity of the past, it is becoming clear that there is more to do.
Once again, communities may see a need for more single-family housing and additional amenities. Attracting a workforce will continue to be a challenge that we must address, and these and other issues related to community growth will be featured on a panel at the conference. This will be a must-see session for community leaders and developers, investors and real estate developers. North Dakota currently ranks #1 in Quality of Life according to U.S. News & World Report, and we expect this panel will be a catalyst for the next phase of making North Dakota an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
Oil and gas industry health
The health of the industry ultimately hinges on our global markets, and we have several renowned economists who will be presenting their views and insights at this year’s conference, including Citigroup’s Edward Lewis Morse, who will be discussing the Bakken’s impact on Global Markets with Continental CEO Harold Hamm. Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank will provide his views of the U.S economy and the relationship with energy and monetary policy, and Bob Morris with Citi, Doug Leggate with Bank of America and John Gerdes of KLR Group will also take the stage to discuss investment opportunities now that shale and the U.S. has unseated OPEC as the energy king.
Many speculators have talked about the Bakken as though it’s a play of the past, but that is far from the truth. The Bakken continued to stay a step ahead in the downturn through innovation and has emerged as strong as ever. The Bakken is Now.
Learn more at the 2018 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference
This will be a major theme at our Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in May and we are excited to welcome more than 40 speakers to present on that will take the Bakken to the next level. The WBPC has become an international business development event offering the latest information and trends that are valuable to everyone, from the multi-national corporations to our local Main Street businesses and from federal government leaders to those leading our local governments. We hope you will join us this May to learn more about how the Bakken can help you and your business in 2018 and beyond.