24th annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference begins in Bismarck

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The 24th annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference took over the Bismarck Event Center this week. This comes during tough times for the industry with the state rig count currently at 28.

The theme of the event is "Bakken Forward" as the energy section looks ahead to better times.

As of today there are 2,500 people have registered for the conference and the headliner of the three-day seminar doesn't arrive until May 26.

They've traveled from more than 20 states across the U.S. and from other countries.

Two-hundred-seventy-two vendors are set up inside showcasing their products, there have been speeches throughout the day and with changing technology, rig counts might not be as important in the future as they were in the past.

"With the efficiency they've gained and their ability to do this that much better, we are ultimately going to have to find a new measuring stick for the activity, it may be completions, I don't know, the drilling rig has always been the barometer of industry and I don't think it's going to be that anymore," said ND Petroleum Council President, Ron Ness.

The conference goes until May 26, closing with a special speech from the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

We will be carrying Trump's speech and have full team coverage of the final day of the conference.