Oil and gas production in the state is near record levels, and the economy showed some impressive strength in the most recent report from the state.
So, is there a new oil boom in the cards?
Jim Olson checks on that in the Williston area.
(Jim Olson, KX News) “Is this the dawn of a new oil boom in North Dakota? We set out to find the answer to that today.”
(John Lisle, S&B Drilling) “Things have definitely picked up for us.”
John Lisle can attest – there’s more business to be had these days.
(John Lisle, S&B Drilling) ” In 2015 we had three employees. In 2016 we had 12. And now we’re up to 20 employees.”
That’s after establishing the company that found a niche in providing unique steel foundations for the oil industry, in the midst of the recent bust when he and his brother-in-law did pretty much everything themselves.
(John Lisle, S&B Drilling) “It was just the two of us. And then slowly over time we were able to start hiring guys.”
It’s the same story for Katie Kringen.
(Katie Kringen, Chatter Pediatric Therapy) “We turn two in the fall and we have 14 therapists here.”
That’s up from 2016 when she started her pediatric therapy office in her husband’s business as the only employee.
(Katie Kringen, Chatter Pediatric Therapy) “Williston just seems a little bit busier really.”
(Shawn Wenko, Williston Economic Development Exec. Dir.) “There’s been a lot of entrepreneurial activity coming through this office, a lot of small business startups.”
Shawn Wenko points to the 33% jump in taxable sales in Williston in the first quarter of this year as evidence that things are picking up. And he thinks there’s more growth on the horizon.
(Shawn Wenko, Williston Economic Development Exec. Dir.) “The entrepreneurial spirit is back, the developers are coming back into the area, starting to put their chess pieces in place and really looking at how do we develop now for long term.”
(John Lisle, S&B Drilling) “We’re keeping folks working. It’s great.”
(Katie Kringen, Chatter Pediatric Therapy) “Williston has a really good feel to it.”
So to answer the question, while it may not be a boom to rival the one of the early part of this decade, but locals are hopeful a slow, steady growth pattern is taking hold in oil country. In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.
Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko says the one fly in the growth ointment is the workforce – he says there are thousands of openings right now, from entry level to executive positions that need to be filled to keep the growth on track.