Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The oil boom

June 24, 2013

North Dakota has been a surprise.

Years ago I drove through a corner of it and was totally unimpressed. I remember the gas tank nearing empty as I found each little town-spot on the map to be abandoned on the ground. It was early fall and “dismal” described the drive.

Today North Dakota seems pretty prosperous. The towns we have passed through have all seen happier days but you drive through miles and miles of agricultural land that looks prime. The roads are in great shape. There is good cell phone coverage everywhere. The people we meet seem normal. All is good in North Dakota.

We passed a large area where the land is being turned over to extract coal. At a glance it didn’t look too bad. They must remove soil covering the coal, remove the coal, then put the soil back.

I remember from grade school that this was called the breadbasket of the country. Wheat was king. Now, in the eastern part of the state, corn is king. We have seen many piles of trees where windrows have been cut to make room for more corn. I can’t remember seeing any wheat, just corn. But the eastern farmers are happy now. My bet is the corn rush will end someday and unhappiness will settle back in.

One of the many little bars and taverns we saw.

We heard about the oil-building boom in North Dakota and thought it was just hype until we passed the Missouri River. 

Western North Dakota is unbelievable. We passed hundreds of oil drilling pads, some completed others being built. 

Some little towns have just been swallowed up by construction companies and housing for the workers. RV’s by the hundreds are parked in fields. Where there aren’t RV’s there are trucks and staging area for the oil field construction.

The lightly traveled back roads we have become used to are now back roads crammed with trucks of all sorts. 

This activity extends into Eastern Montana.

Probably one quarter of the oil drilling pads we passed were in operation. In the future cheap oil may be back.

For some reason I was not able to upload all my pictures this morning. I also can't find some of the ones I think I took. One of the two cameras I have been misplacing from time to time is misplaced. My shoes are here somewhere. I think my undies are on backward or my voice is becoming soprano.  I should just call it a day and go back to bed.


  1. This looks like a serious bar. No thought to atmosphere or aesthetics here!

  2. The oil companies want to ship the oil to the gulf so they can sell it to China or whoever. It will not make our gas prices cheaper. I read awhile ago that gas prices were down in the midwest because they couldn't ship the oil anywhere. These low prices of course will go away when the Keystone Pipeline is completed and the oil is sold on the world market.