'The Brakes on the Bakken Boom' Part 1

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Falling crude oil prices are creating anxiety for the investors, legislators, county governments and workers in the oil patch. The state's drilling rig count peaked at 218 in May of 2012.

And today, that number has dropped to 137.

Rig traffic has slowed down in the Bakken, and that has translated into fewer jobs for roughnecks.

"It's a real slow. Everybody is laying jobs off I mean my brother is sitting in the hotel right now not got a job. He came up here and got laid off. He's about to go back home," said pipeline worker Christian Dougan.

But roughnecks only make up about 25 percent of the work force in North Dakota's oil fields. Other sectors of the energy industry that support and service existing wells continues to be strong.

"At this point we are not cutting anybody. We are still looking for 100 additional people," said David Johnson, Nuverra Environment Solutions.

"Hiring Now" billboards and signs can still be seen everywhere in oil country.

TERRY MOE: "we are looking to build we are looking to add drivers and mechanics."

Terry Moe of Nuverra Environmental Solutions says skilled workers and heavy equipment operators and drivers are still being hired and are in high demand.

KEITH MORTON: "The growth that was happening had to end sooner or later."

Keith has worked in the Bakken hauling water since 2010.

Oilfield worker Keith Morton said: "I don't think it's doom and gloom. I think here in the last three years everything has been way over like too much. So, it's getting where everyone had to do everything quick, and now it's getting back to the other oilfields in Texas or Oklahoma where things have settled out."

Since oil dropped from over $100 per barrel to under 50 there hasn't been a mass exodus from the Bakken, and economic development manager Gene Veeder says he doesn't expect there to be one.

"We've still got a lot of oil to move out of here and that takes a huge work force to do that still a lot of construction going on and that takes a huge work force to do that."

Veeder says oil is no different than other north dakota commodities like livestock or grain. Those markets also fluctuate, and Veeder expects the Bakken oil play to last 20 or 30 years. So he and other industry players are not doing long range planning around 6, 8 or 10 month price slump.

If you'd like to follow the daily drilling rig count, visit the Department of Mineral Resources website at dmr.nd.gov.

We'll have more on the building projects for Watford City and if the low oil prices will slow any apartments or other infrastructure construction.