The news that the oil patch in North Dakota is much larger than originally estimated means that residents and officials there will have to face the challenges that accompany a boom.
Last week, the U.S. Geological Survey significantly increased its assessment of oil and gas reserves in the Williston basin of North Dakota, according to an MPR report.
Another problem is virtually unheard-of elsewhere: a worker shortage.
"People will come here to work for the oil companies, and they will make good money, but when they just come by themself, you no longer have a teenager to work at McDonald's, or a spouse that might be a nurse at the hospital," Ward Koeser, the mayor of Williston, said in a Bloomberg interview. "So the service sector is what's really suffering right now."
Koeser is keenly aware that image is important, too. Promoting a recent cleanup event, he wanted his town to "move past its dirty oil city reputation," according to the Williston Herald. He told the paper that he wanted to make Williston "the best little city in America."
Of course, the challenges in the oil patch could be seen as the gray lining in a silver cloud. North Dakota is producing more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day, and is second to Texas in domestic oil production, according to an MPR report, with energy production fueling a nearly $2 billion budget surplus in the state.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NORTH DAKOTA OIL BOOM:
Interior Department boosts estimates of oil-and-gas resources in North Dakota
"A federal reassessment of oil-and-gas resources in North Dakota found the state holds twice as much shale oil — and three times as much gas — than was previously estimated." (The Hill)
• Companies line up to drill after survey shows Dakota oil, gas fields far bigger than believed
"Energy companies are lining up for their shot to drill in the Dakotas and Montana after a new government report revealed that a massive geological formation stretching across the states contains twice the oil and three times the amount of natural gas than was originally believed." (FoxNews.com)
• N.D. oil is more plentiful than previously thought
"The revised totals could make the North Dakota field the greatest oil and gas find ever in the continental United States, topping the fabled East Texas field that made Texas synonymous with oil wealth. And it would put North Dakota second to Prudhoe Bay as the largest oil producer in U.S. history." (Star Tribune)