Almost 1.3 million barrels of oil are being produced in North Dakota each day, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. The production is helping to make America energy independent. It's also why a group of leaders in the American Jewish Organizations was in the Bakken this week.
The group spent time touring different sites in western North Dakota, including an oil rig, frack site and pumping station. The goal? To take the message back to other leaders in the Jewish community and in Israel about how America's energy independence helps the Jewish State.
Standing at the top of an oil rig may not be a new experience for Fred Zeidman, but it's a feeling that never gets old.
“I still get goosebumps. Not from the temperature, but every time I'm up there realizing the importance of what we're doing out here,” Zeidman said.
Zeidman has been part of the oil industry for more than 40 years. Now, he's a director of the Council for a Secure America, which works to educate the Jewish community about the importance of energy independence, and the partnership between Israel and the U.S. That includes tours like this one, giving those visiting a rare opportunity to see how the oil industry works.
“It's like standing at the Washington Monument or standing at the U.S. Capitol,” Zeidman said. “You just get goosebumps because you realize the critical role that where you're standing and what they're doing right there in that spot plays.”
Arthur Stark, former president of Bed Bath & Beyond, says it's an eye-opening experience to see how the oil is produced.
“We have this strength and that we take full advantage of it and we put ourselves on a footing so that we can make our own determination about our future when it comes to oil and the economy associated with that,” Stark said.
Stark says he's most impressed by how high tech the industry is, and to see how the process of fracking is accomplished.
Zeidman says Israel has just recently started producing oil and natural gas, and is working to become an energy independent country.