October 2, 2008

Oil field expansion will impact Central Dakota infrastructure

By Allan Tinker

If the surveys hold true, the eventual Bakken oil exploration will move east into McLean and Sheridan Counties. The lessons the western counties are currently learning should be a welcome forewarning for the eastern counties, if they heed the message. Infrastructure set up to handle farm equipment and rural travel and populace, will not be sufficient, generally, to take the beating of millions of gallons of water being hauled, heavy equipment moved weekly, and the constant shuffle of workers moving equipment or materials from site to site. The wells that produce 35,000 barrels a day, with an increase seen by oil professionals to near 165,000 barrels per day for the state by December, also add their toll to the wear and tear on roadways and surrounding land. Pioneer Rig 57, near Parshall, which State Representative Kenton Onstad, an employee of Mountrail Williams Electric, estimated took 24 days to drill to 14,600 feet, is one example of the rapid fire appearance of wells on the former prairie and croplands of these western counties.


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