Oil companies struggling to fill positions

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:01 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - While many sectors of North Dakota’s economy have come roaring back, North Dakota’s oil and gas production has stalled. The state increased production by less than one percent.

This stagnation isn’t a reflection of demand, but of attention to the region. Other states are seeing booms, and that’s keeping companies and workers from coming north.

Therefore, like many other industries, North Dakota’s oil patches are dealing with labor shortages.

With the current price of crude oil, there should be 20-25 fracking rigs statewide. Right now, there are only eight.

“They are trying with all their might to hire, but they are not finding employees that want to come back into the industry and come back to North Dakota to work on frack crews,” DMR Director Lynn Helms said.

When COVID slowed the industry down, many crews went south where oil production maintained pace.

With fewer workers, there’s continuing stress on the infrastructure they left behind.

Flaring saw a slight up-tick from April to May, and part of that is because of the aging systems.

“In order for the industry to continue to grow, legacy systems and existing infrastructures need to continue to be expanded and maintained,” North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said.

This stagnation comes as North Dakota remains on the verge of losing its place as the second-most producing state in the Union.

We could lose it to New Mexico, who has three times as many rigs as us.

The Department of Mineral Resources and companies are trying to recruit high school students considering a career in oil after graduation.

Industry leaders say North Dakota has a golden opportunity to start training programs as another recruitment tactic.

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