Frontier CEO Says Worker Housing; Networking Keys to Entering the Williston Basin
Williston, ND, November, 12 2012 – As the economy continues to boom in the Bakken, Frontier Energy Group, LLC CEO Dan Eberhart says that newcomers need to be aware of the region’s unique challenges.
“We’ve known about the Bakken for close to 50 years now, but due to a combination of factors – such as improved knowledge of the area, better infrastructure, and new developments in extraction technology –the area has exploded in the last two decades,” Eberhart says.
In recent years, the amount of rigs in the Bakken has increased dramatically, and the area has been drawing a steady mix of newcomers as well as companies who left the Bakken during the ‘80s and ‘90s but are now looking for a way back in. While the boom of the past 20 years has been good for the economy in North Dakota – particularly in Williston, which is strategically located in the center of the Bakken formation – the renewed interest in the Bakken has also created some unique challenges.
Worker Housing: Plan Early
One of the most pressing challenges in the Williston Basin, Eberhart says, is worker recruitment and housing.
“Due to the recent activity in the Bakken, the city of Williston has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country – and that’s a good thing. A great thing, really,” says Eberhart. “The challenge is that there aren’t enough available workers living in Williston. Each rig requires around 80 workers, which means that a lot of companies are bringing workers in from out of state. And this leads to another challenge: Once you get the workers here, where are they going to live?”
Recently, Williston has gained national media attention due to its housing shortage, brought on by a sudden influx of workers from other parts of the country. Eberhart says that anyone thinking of recruiting out-of-state workers needs to have a housing plan well before they start hiring new people.
“It’s critical that you plan for housing as early as possible,” Eberhart says. “If you don’t get your housing ready, your crew could end up in motels. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve heard stories about guys sleeping in their pick-ups out there. That’s not necessarily the best way to inspire employee morale, or keep a trained workforce.”
To ensure that new recruits have a warm, comfortable place to stay, Eberhart recommends investing in portable housing (such as well-insulated mobile homes) or buying out entire hotels or motels.
Drilling Methods: Don’t Blaze New Trails
Another challenge area in the Bakken is the method of drilling, Eberhart says. Many newcomers to the area try to come up with new ways of dealing with the area’s unique drilling challenges. This is unnecessary, says Eberhart. Instead, he says, it’s better to learn by example:
“Don’t start from square one. Learn from the crews that have been doing this for the last decade. Talk to the guys that have been drilling for the last decade − they know what works,” he says. “You’re not walking into unexplored territory, so there’s no need to try to trailblaze. Use the knowledge and resources that are there, or you’ll spend months trying to rediscover the techniques that everyone else is already using.”
For those new to the Bakken, Eberhart recommends the following resources as a starting point:
- Join the North Dakota Petroleum Council.
- Attend the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference
- Visit the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division. This site is an excellent source of information, such as well data; case files; production and injection volumes; and whitepapers on a variety of topics.
About Frontier Energy Group, LLC
Frontier provides comprehensive oilfield drilling and production services to oil and gas companies throughout the Western United States. Frontier Energy Group, LLC, is the parent company of Frontier Wellhead & Supply, LLC, with operational headquarters based in Watford City, North Dakota. Together with Frontier Hot Oil, LLC; Frontier Pressure Testing, LLC in Williston, North Dakota; as well as Cable, LLC and Luft Machine, LLC in Colorado; Frontier provides a one-stop oilfield drilling and production service company. To learn more about the company, visit www.feg.net.