The information found on this page contains the most recent development projections prepared by Lynn Helms of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.
Posted March 8, 2013
Slope County Energy Development
Lynn Helms has developed models of Bakken development that are consistent with the geology and what is known of the oil content of the formation and uses current industry standards of employment per rig and well. Very limited drilling is expected to continue in Slope County throughout the forecast period with a constant 111 wells. Tyler Formation drilling will be spread among several counties, and will likely add some activity.
Oil Industry Jobs
Jobs are based on current levels of 120 jobs per rig, 12 wells drilled per rig per year, 40 wells per frac crew per year, and 1 worker per producing well. Note that more than one-third of the drilling jobs are for trucking water, pipe, and materials. These jobs may be lost over time as pipeline and other distribution/collection systems are finished.
These gathering system jobs mostly end by 2025. Total jobs hit 223 in 2024 and remain above 160 through 2050.
There are a few temporary workers in Slope County through 2026. Some demand for housing crosses over the county line from Billings County. Tyler Formation drilling may add some employing in the out years.
Technology change, improvements in collection/distribution systems, oil price shifts, improvements in use of natural gas, shifts in permanent vs. temporary workers, and crowding effects make these projections highly dynamic and subject to change.
NDSU Projections and Housing
North Dakota State University projections also predict the demand for housing in Slope County to rise from 440 to roughly 680 by 2036 in the consensus scenario for permanent housing. The temporary bulge in housing for transient workers required during the drilling phase amounts to some 200 units in 2012-20, and unlike other counties, declining but not disappearing by 2036. Slope’s population growth rate is moderately fast, but manageable, 3.1 percent through 2020, with potential Tyler Formation drilling a modest wild car.
This boom is not like the 1980s spike, but a protracted increase in employment and population that will change the region for decades. These projections are not the last word, but the first comprehensive scenarios for the future given by the most knowledgeable local experts.