North Dakota Celebrates 60 Years of Oil; Future Looks Bright - ND Could Surpass CA and Alaska Soon
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - "North Dakota's booming oil patch is likely to slow just a bit this weekend as the state marks 60 years of production at a festival in Williston. Kevin Paschke, executive director of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, said the Williston Basin Energy Festival is a time for fun and relaxation but also a tribute to "risk-takers who had the vision and believed oil was beneath us.''
Paschke said workers from more than 200 companies and thousands of people from communities throughout the oil patch are expected to attend the festival, which will feature fireworks, beauty pageants and food, including barbecued alligator. A sort of roughneck Olympics also is slated, where oil workers will compete in tug-of-wars, arm wrestling, truck pulls and a drill-bit toss. Gov. Jack Dalrymple is slated to serve as the grand marshal for the festival's parade this morning.
Amerada Corp.'s well struck oil on Clarence Iverson's wheat farm near Tioga in the northwest part of the state in 1951. The following year, the company hosted a party and provided 3,000 pounds of prime beef to feed a crowd of more than 10,000. Similar events have been held in 1961, 1981 and 2001.
More than 1.85 billion barrels have been produced in North Dakota over the past 60 years, state records show. Officials estimate that at least twice that amount remains untapped in the Bakken shale and the Three Forks formation below it. North Dakota is the nation's No.4 oil producer, on pace to surpass California and Alaska, where production has been declining.
North Dakota's oil patch is pumping about 100,000 more barrels of crude daily than a year ago at this time and about double the production in 2008. State and industry officials estimate the state could hit 700,000 barrels daily by 2015."