The Bakken is driving the economy and workforce efficiencies

The results are in! In 2017, the petroleum industry’s total economic contribution in North Dakota was $32.6 billion, according to a study done by North Dakota State University, sponsored by the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC). The industry supported 51,400 jobs with a total payroll of $3.8 billion, which accounts for 15 percent of all private-sector jobs in the state and 16.9 percent of all wages and salaries.

The industry has continued to set production records in North Dakota this year. June production numbers were just announced, and we reached 1.42 million barrels per day, a new all-time high. We expect to see increased economic impacts as new data comes in and our reports are updated. This progress is a result of not only rebounding oil prices, but also increased efficiencies and better technology being deployed in the oilfields.

As the Bakken play has developed and extraction techniques have been perfected, surface disruption has decreased. We have also seen infrastructure needs catch up with development which has not only eased the strain on local communities, but also contributed to more efficient production.

The industry has also made great strides in staffing and training efficiency with a Safety FIRST focus by creating the One Basin – One Way! standardized contractor orientation program. Duplicative contractor orientation was identified by NDPC members as an area where they could increase efficiency and streamline training to improve safety. Before One Basin – One Way!, contractors for the oil and gas industry had to meet orientation and training requirements for each company they performed work for throughout the year. After 18 months of planning and collaboration, the NDPC rolled out One Basin – One Way! and began training classes in June. 

This program provides safety orientation for all of our Safety FIRST partners, producer, and pipeline companies that will require One Basin – One Way! orientation for their contractors. These companies represent nearly 50 percent of oil and gas production in the Bakken, and we expect participation to grow as this program gets more established. This standardized training eliminates the need for contractors to sit through separate orientations for every site where they work. By consolidating company-specific orientation into one program and delivering training on 55 prominent safety topics, the One Basin – One Way! program delivers a robust safety orientation while concentrating on improving the overall industry safety record. Simplifying what contractors need to learn will also lead to a better understanding of the rules and guidelines at all sites, safer work practices, and fewer injuries.

The first of its kind, One Basin – One Way! was developed in North Dakota and focuses on North Dakota-specific job hazards such as operating in low temperatures and transportation hazards. The industry needs to attract a strong workforce and showing our commitment to safety on the job will help do that. The program has received a grant from North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) that will provide partial scholarships for orientation attendees. This is a great commitment from the state that shows the value they place on this training, as well as the enhanced safety and efficiency it will bring to the industry.

The NDPC is encouraging all its members to join the One Basin – One Way! program so we can see safety improvements across the oil and gas workforce in the Williston Basin. Currently, the Safety FIRST partners are: Bruin E&P, Crestwood Midstream, Enerplus, Equinor, Hess Corporation, Oasis Petroleum, ONEOK, Inc., QEP Resources, Whiting Petroleum Corporation, WPX Energy, and XTO Energy.

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