Where To Be in the Bakken

By Luke Geiver | October 04, 2013

Our jobs stop being jobs during those rare moments of genuine pride and enthusiasm we experience when something we’ve done or accomplished—a project, a partnership formation, a completed well—instills that same sense into those who hired us for the job in the first place. Those moments, when a client calls out of the blue just to explain his or her satisfaction, may get lost at times in the fast-paced, ever-changing atmosphere of the Bakken oil and gas play, but they do happen. Stories in this month’s issue show that.

To help operators, startups or others understand the variables that make those moments more prevalent in the Williston Basin, we spoke with several groups this month who shared their stories. From those stories, a common theme became apparent. The Power of Place, as the feature title suggests, is crucial for the long-term success of many in the oil, gas and other Bakken-related industries. Darick Franzen, regional manager for West Coast-based Spring Capital Group, believes his transition from construction professional to Bakken startup expert came mainly from one thing: being there. The Smith family, owners of Alltite Inc., a tooling and service provider started in Kansas, were so in favor of creating a presence in Williston, N.D., the owner was willing to endure many difficult transportation and housing issues to build the Alltite name in the region. Both have offices or live mainly in the region today.

The argument for opening a company branch or residing within the Williston Basin isn’t always the best possible course of action, however. Some believe providing a service or product to the region from outside the region is more advantageous to economic success. Both features this month hint at why that mode of thinking should be tweaked in some cases.

As for my moment from this month’s issue, I want to point to my conversation with the team from MW Industries, the workover and service rig manufacturer from Kenmare, N.D. We were standing in front of a display rig at the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Annual Meeting. When I asked the team about its best moments during the rig manufacturing process, Kelvin Faul, mechanical supervisor, immediately blurted out, "I know mine." I realize now that as I listened to Kelvin explain the moment when he’s standing on a freshly painted, recently assembled rig situated on a testing pad, that I wasn’t working. I wasn’t on the job for that 10 minutes because, from his hand gestures that mimicked pulling a lever or dialing a knob and the enthusiasm in his voice as he explained the last procedure he performs on a rig before they send it off to a client, it was almost like I was standing on that rig with him.

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Luke Geiver
Editor
The Bakken magazine
lgeiver@bbiinternational.com