Tag Archives: Bakken

Documentary film on Bakken life debuts Sunday in Billings

The documentary film “Makoshika,” about life in the Bakken oil fields, will have its Billings premiere this Sunday at 7pm at the Babcock Theater, and will also be shown at the Art House Pub and Theater on March 4-6 and 9-10.

The 50-minute documentary is a culmination of the High Plains Heritage Project, which we first wrote about 18 months ago, when four Montana journalists set off for the Bakken to do in depth coverage of the past, present and future of the region.

Examining both the present boom and those since passed, “Makoshika” alternates between intimate first person narratives and historical commentary, asking viewers to look at the present through the lens of history.

With mild spring weather forecast for Billings this weekend, we recommend the journey.

Click to read more about the film, view the trailer, and order tickets for Sunday’s showing. Continue reading

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This is Life with Lisa Ling: Filthy Rich (video)

I’ve been accumulating some information about the Bakken, so this is the first of a few posts on the subject. The posts will have more to do with the impacts of an oil society on communities rather than specific oil and gas issues.

Lisa Ling is a CNN reporter who hosts This is Life, a series of video-magazine stories that take her on a “gritty, breathtaking journey to the far corners of America.” One episode is entitled “Filthy Rich,” and it deals with the life of women in the Bakken.

The first part of her story chronicles the lives of some of the few women who have been brave enough to come to Williston to seek their fortunes. Their stories are inspiring. They are tough. They learn to deal with intolerable housing, tremendous social pressure and numbing isolation, and, for the few who can stick it out, they are able to find high-paying jobs in service industries, in the oil fields, and in transport.

But the second half of the episode deals with the flip side of the stories of those strong women, and it is frightening. The trafficking industry is a substantial part of life around the oilfields, and the stories of who they are and how they got to the Bakken will make you angry.

Click to watch the episode. Continue reading

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Learning opportunity: Webinar on challenges of life in the Bakken, July 23

Most of us will never visit the Bakken. We read the news stories, hear the reports of spills and train explosions and lives changed forever, and scratch our heads as oil executives tell us that fracking is essential to a … Continue reading

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Great Falls Tribune interview with Jim Halvorson of the Montana Board of Oil and Gas

“Drilling in the Bakken Formation in Montana has basically ceased at the current oil price, which fell dramatically last fall. There have not been many wells actually shut-in yet but there are some drilled wells that might not be put in production until the oil price improves.” Continue reading

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Salt water spills require local regulation to protect farmers and ranchers

Farmers and ranchers in the Bakken have had an uneasy peace with the oil industry since the fracking boom started. Many receive royalty payments based on their ownership of the minerals under their land, and so they have been relatively … Continue reading

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Smithsonian Channel’s “Boomtowners” chronicles life in the Bakken (video)

Interesting viewing today, courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel, which has developed a multi-part series on life in the Bakken. From the web site: “Boomtowners” plunges into a modern-day “gold rush” that’s attracting thousands of people from all over the country … Continue reading

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A personal story: Grace Her Many Horses, Newtown, North Dakota

Today’s personal story was originally published in 2014 in the Sicangu Eyapaha (Rosebud Sioux) tribal newspaper, and written by Damon RunningHorse-Buckley, who at that time was Communications Director of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. It provides an account of an experienced … Continue reading

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Sidney, Montana: Riding the boomtown roller coaster (with NPR audio)

Sidney, Montana is riding the boomtown roller coaster. Last year we reported on Sidney’s unmet infrastructure needs as the town was  riding the upwards Bakken boom. Growth had taxed the city’s infrastructure to bursting. A summary from a Montana Public … Continue reading

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Oil prices continue to fall: why it is happening and what it means

Cheap gas The price of gas continues to fall. Three weeks ago I noted that gas was at $2.99 in Colum- bus and Red Lodge, and speculated on what falling oil prices might mean to oil drilling along the Beartooth … Continue reading

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Gas flaring is dangerous to our health and environment. There’s one way to stop it. Locally.

Gas flaring, the deliberate open-air burning of natural gas, is a practice common in the largest shale oil plays where natural gas is a byproduct of oil extraction. There are some legitimate reasons to allow limited use of flaring. After a shale oil/gas … Continue reading

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