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Conference Prepares Leaders For Oil Boom

May 2, 2012, 9:56 PM by Derek Olson

Conference Prepares Leaders For Oil Boom

Business and government leaders are meeting in Spearfish for a two-day conference on the North Dakota Oil Boom.

"The rest of the country suffered a national recession, but we just skipped it in North Dakota.  It has created jobs, created wealth and created challenges," former North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said.

The oil boom in the Bakken Formation found many communities unprepared for the influx of workers and equipment.  That's why North Dakota leaders are now sharing the lessons they've learned.

"Plan, plan, plan.  Once you see the first signs of life, once you see the first signs of economic activity coming into the area, it's very important to start the planning right away," Goettle said.

With exploration already starting to take place near Buffalo, many believe it's only a matter of time before South Dakota experiences a boom of its own.

"There's oil there too.  The easy oil is in North Dakota and they're taking that out, but they will come in to South Dakota at some point," Sen. Tom Nelson said.

Not only is the conference informing guests as to what's going on up north, it's emphasizing the importance of open communication.

"We would invite the private sector and the public sector to come up to North Dakota to see how we've addressed some of the challenges.  There's a lot that you can learn from what we've done," Goettle said.

"We're actually going to go up to Williston and meet with some of the leaders in that community in the next couple of weeks just to get a first-hand knowledge as to what's going on in those communities," Spearfish Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bryan Walker said.

All done with one goal in mind:

"As the footprint of the Bakken expands, we can be ready for those opportunities," Walker said.

Around 160 lawmakers and business leaders were at the two-day conference.

Black Hills Bakken Conference Website

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