If there was one trait that characterized this year’s Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, it was unabashed pride.
Mostly the pride stemmed from North Dakota’s achievement in the last decade after moving from a relatively low amount of oil production (79,000 b/d in early 2004) to approaching 1 million b/d currently, making it the second-largest producing state behind Texas.
The oil–Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Oil and Gas Division, claimed the resource could be as much as 300 billion barrels–has brought an unimaginable bounty to the state: low unemployment (averaging 3% state-wide), hordes of job openings (Governor Jack Dalrymple claimed 25,000 positions are available) and pots of oil-derived money in a legacy fund not quite three years old (it is reported to be on the verge of $2 billion).
Some of the pride didn’t even directly relate to oil production.
In addressing the conference, a beaming Dalrymple said recent surveys have found North Dakota is the happiest state in the nation.
“We finally surpassed Hawaii,” Dalrymple said. “And marijuana has not been legalized here,” he added, an obvious reference to nearby Colorado where the sale and use of cannabis was recently legalized. “We’re happiest even without that,” he said.