Fracking: How the oil price collapse is impacting Williston, ND

By Joshua Doubek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

By Joshua Doubek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

Florida’s Republican lawmakers continue to offer fracking as a solution to the state’s economic, job and energy concerns. Williston, North Dakota the prototypical fracking boom town gives us a view into what might happen in Florida from an economic perspective (this doesn’t even take into account environmental concerns).

Between 2006 and 2012 Williston was the boomtown of the country. In fact it was the one place place that seemed immune to the “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009. But since 2012, families have left Williston, the oil industry has begun to dry up literally. Further complicating matters is the recent crash in oil prices globally. the town has struggled.

Things have gotten so depressing locally that earlier in the month it was reported that their were nine heroin overdoses in the town. With the price of oil plummeting and the supplies of a non-renewable resource having been diminished fewer and fewer people are showing up to work. In fact, it has been reported by many media outlets that people are not reporting to the jobs they hold and simply skipping town.

Williston holds lessons for the legislators who are voting on fracking legislation. I’d urge them to investigate what has happened to the town that some predicted would end up as a permanent major city just a few years ago because of the oil boom locally.

2 comments

  1. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    I understand that a principal reason the Saudies continue to pump their oil wells at a furious pace is to cripple the economics of fracking. I recall reading that when oil falls below $50 a barrel that fracking loses money and forces the frackers out of business. Starting a new fracking business is very expensive and takes a long time. Drive frackers out of business and oil prices will shoot up.

    1. Correct. That and also for geopolitical reasons (hurting Russia). The Saudi’s appear unwilling to cut production despite losing money on it right now. They are playing a long game bleeding dry US production and that of Russia.

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