The falling price of oil is leading to production dropping in the oil rigs—in
fact, a newspaper in the
Williston Herald, recently
termed the rate of shutdown of many rigs a “free fall” while describing
the plunge, from roughly 200 last year to around 68 currently.
Many oil workers in the Bakken are affected by the drop in rig count. In
a region that has seen a significant influx of oil workers in previous
years, the amount of layoffs is significant. That, in turn, is having
a significant effect on workers’ decisions to stay in the Bakken
or to look for work elsewhere.
Some, like a South Dakota native profiled in the
Williston Herald’s piece, found construction work elsewhere. Some are overjoyed to
be leaving the Bakken for warmer weather, leaving behind the sky-high
prices and tough life that went along with the solid paychecks in good
times. Some, who have been laid off the rigs, are in economic turmoil,
unable to afford life in the Bakken but unsure of where, exactly, they
will end up.
Their decisions reflect uncertainty about the future of the Bakken. While
many think that the recent shutdown of rigs is a blip in an otherwise
strong growth rate, reporter Elizabeth Hackenburg
notes that “despite the optimism that local business and economic leaders
project about the outlook for local oil field-related jobs, there are
a number of people in the region who are facing a decision - stick it
out and hope for the best, or leave an area known for years as a land
of opportunity and start over somewhere else.”
Want to talk about life in the Bakken oilfields?