MDN has written about the economic miracle (and you can call it nothing less than a miracle) in North Dakota—all due to oil and a technology called horizontal hydraulic fracturing (read MDN’s previous story here). The miracle continues and is chronicled on none other than National Public Radio, America’s far-left voice.
Try this on for size: The town of Williston, ND (gotta love a town with the name Willis in it!) used to have a total population of 12,000 people before hydraulic fracturing started to be used to get at the oil in the Bakken formation beneath them. In the past four years, Williston added between 12,000-20,000 new jobs! You read that right, the town more than doubled in size. And, they have 2,000 to 3,000 job openings right now!! Their mayor says Williston just “skipped the recession entirely.” That’s the power of hydraulic fracturing—an economic miracle than you can’t deny.
Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.
Places like Williston [ND] are the reason why.
"For many years, they knew that there was oil in that area, but the technology wasn’t available to get it out," the town’s mayor, Ward Koeser, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
But in the last few years, advances in such technologies as "fracking" and horizontal drilling have made, by some estimates, as much as 11 billion barrels of oil available in the Bakken formation under North Dakota and Montana.
"There’s oil companies coming from all over the country now." Koeser says.
Williston has skipped the recession entirely. Unemployment there is less than 2 percent. The population, the mayor estimates, has grown from 12,000 to 20,000 in the last four years.
"We actually have probably between 2,000 and 3,000 job openings in Williston right now," Koeser says.*
*NPR All Things Considered (Sep 25, 2011) – New Boom Reshapes Oil World, Rocks North Dakota