Western North Dakota and, to a lesser extent, parts of Eastern Montana, are racing through the third oil boom since the first well struck black gold in 1951 near Tioga.
Imagine today’s beehive of activity:
• More than 200 oil and oil service companies working in the Bakken oil fields.
• Hundreds of 8,000-pound, five-axle tractor-trailers hauling crude, scoria, water and other supplies and equipment, each driving hundreds of miles a day. Each truck creates wear and tear on roads and bridges equal to more than 9,000 cars.
• Jobs for another 2,000 workers around Williston, N.D., a city of more than 13,000.
• Signing bonuses of $300 to $400 to attract workers to lower-paying, fast-food jobs.
• Companies racing to drill a well every two sections or 1,280 acres, which ties up the adjoining land.
• Halliburton Co. expanding its Williston office and shop complex and hauling Olympic Village dormitory housing from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Williston for some of its estimated 600 workers.
• Workers sleeping in their trucks, tents or even storage containers passing as homes.
• Three new hotels are planned for Williston, a city with eight hotels and motels.
• For the first half of this year, Williston issued nearly 56 residential building permits totaling $9 million. In comparison, Billings with nine times more people issued 129 single-family permits for nearly $24 million.
• Williston is North Dakota’s ninth-largest city and it generated nearly $216 million in sales taxes for the first three months of 2010, the third-highest total in the state.