One of the major challenges of an oil boom like the Bakken that stretches from North Dakota into Canada is housing for support services and oilfield workers coming in from all over the country.
A new forum, being held in early June, will help those who want to establish housing and infrastructure for the Bakken. Forum sponsors include workforce housing manufacturers PTI Group USA and Target Logistics, among others.
“Housing in the oil-producing counties is a huge issue because we have open, at the moment, about 18,000 jobs according to the Department of Commerce and probably at least that many, if not more, in the private sector that aren’t listed with them,” says Andy Peterson, president and CEO of Greater North Dakota Chamber.
Peterson is also a co-chairperson of the CI Energy Group’s Forum on Workforce Accommodation, Housing and Infrastructure for the Bakken, which will be held June 4-5 at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck, N.D.
“The biggest challenge of course is housing, that’s what we need,” Peterson says. “So it’s about overcoming this challenge and getting our jobs filled and people and families in place.”
Peterson encourages anyone who wants to develop property and housing projects, apartment projects or anything similar to attend the forum.
“Anyone who is interested in developing, but is waiting for financing on their projects or those who are around us in western Montana and South Dakota that are thinking the oil industry is coming to a neighborhood near them, should get engaged in this,” Peterson says.
Much to learn
Many topics will be discussed and presented by top industry experts. Some of those topics being covered will be a forecast on the immediate and future housing and accommodation needs for the region, future waste treatment and electrical requirements, development challenges, how worker camps can complement housing, transportation and logistical challenges and financing solutions to projects and an outlook for the property market.
“People attending will gain from the experiences of others who have been there before,” Peterson says. “They’ll hear from cities on the challenges that they’ve faced in a rapid buildup. They’ll talk to folks who have already done it, been there and hopefully walk away smarter than they were before.”
Two workshops also will be held on Monday, June 3, in association with the two-day forum:
- 9:30 a.m. — Understanding the Guidelines for Getting Your Housing, Modular Structure or Manufactured Home Permitted in the Bakken
- 1 p.m. — Overcoming the Challenges of Attracting and Retaining a Talented Workforce in the Bakken Region
Also on Monday, Target Logistics LLC will provide a site tour of its 600-bed Dunn County Lodge in Dickinson, N.D. The tour will depart the hotel at 4 p.m. with the tour set for 5:30 p.m., and will return to the hotel at 9 p.m.
“That kind of (crew) camp is really one of the better ones,” Peterson says. “No alcohol, no guns, no overnight visitors. These are for the serious workers, people that are up here working hard.”
Peterson notes that his son, who works in the oilfields, stays at a Target Logistics camp.
“He comes from Minnesota and works two weeks on and two weeks off,” Peterson says. “He wakes up at 4 a.m., goes to the cafeteria and eats as much as he can, packs his own lunch, taking as much as he can and works anywhere from 12 to 15 hours. He comes back, eats as much as he can, showers and goes to bed. He does that every day for those two weeks.”
Peterson says the crew camp gives his son a place to sleep, his own private room, a shower and his laundry is attended to.
“It’s clean, safe and the place he wants to be,” Peterson says. “I would absolutely recommend the tour for those that are coming to the conference and see what the camps are all about.”
The first-of-its-kind event will provide companies with key insights and strategies for managing this fast-growing industry. “We’re just happy these kind of things are happening here in North Dakota and people are coming to see all the great things we’re doing here,” Peterson says.
Registration is still open for the forum and will also be open during the event. To register, call 877/927-7936 or go to www.workforcebakken.com.