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Shrugging off winter’s bite in North Dakota oil patch

BISMARCK, N.D. — The extreme cold slamming the Great Plains isn’t about to cool off one of the hottest segments of the American economy: North Dakota’s oil patch.

The roustabouts, roughnecks and thousands of others swept up in the state’s oil boom know they have to keep rigs operating in all conditions. One way workers stay safe is by taking timeouts in “doghouses” — small heated buildings near rigs.

Craig Hovet, who is working well maintenance in the middle of the patch, says he loves what he does. He jokes that the prospect of temperatures not cracking single digits “keeps out the riffraff.”

Technological advances in oil drilling have helped make North Dakota the second-leading oil producing state, pulling nearly a million barrels a day out of the ground.

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