“It’s not too late to get involved,” agreed keynote speaker and former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, now a board member for Continental Resources. “And it certainly is going to be a long-term play.” Schafer said South Dakota’s similarities to North Dakota — particularly, people who are honest and caring and hard-working — will be to its benefit in attracting businesses and investors that may want to be near the oil patch, but not in it.
“They need to park someplace,” he said. “I’m encouraged about the possibilities in South Dakota.” There are roughly 5,500 oil wells in the Bakken today, Schafer said, yet experts say the area can support more than 50,000 wells. “We haven’t even gotten to 90 percent of the opportunity that’s in North Dakota,” he said.
“The size of the pie is huge,” said Tim Fisher, founder of Bakken Energy Service. “There is enough for everyone and then some.”Fisher, who describes his Bakken Energy Service business as the “world’s largest third-party logistics company because it is our job to get services from one location to another in a reliable, cost effective manner ” for its 38 coalition members, urged South Dakota not to compare itself and its oil potential to its northern neighbor.
“North Dakota’s Wal-Mart and South Dakota’s Ace Hardware,” he said. But South Dakotans shouldn’t be afraid to “open an Ace Hardware” because there’s a Wal-Mart next door. “Drop the scarcity mentality,” Fisher said, adding that businesses need to work together to benefit everyone. “You’re not the enemy. Start working together … This is your backyard.”
South Dakota’s geology will prevent it from ever seeing an oil boom like the one now happening in North Dakota’s Bakken Formation. But there are still plenty of great oil-related opportunities for western South Dakota, speakers said at a local seminar Tuesday.
That was good news for about 175 people who signed up for the one-day summit, “Opportunities in the Bakken,” held at Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City. It was one in a series of seminars being presented around the country, said Jeff Johnson of Midwest Real Estate News, one of the event sponsors.
Tuesday’s audience was a mix of business people, potential investors, real estate developers and others interested in learning more about North Dakota’s oil industry and the economic opportunities it has to offer. Eldene Henderson of Rapid City was one of just 20 or so women in the audience. “I’m kind of an information collector,” she said, explaining her decision to attend. But Henderson is also working on a development project for senior citizens who want to relocate from North Dakota. From that standpoint, she found the speakers “very informative.”
Jim LeMar, a salesman with Canada-based Northstar Homes, appreciated the summit’s networking opportunities as much as the information it provided. “I’m just looking to make contacts in the business communities that are working up in North Dakota,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ve met a couple people that will lead to some business.”
So is South Dakota State Geologist Derric Iles. Because while South Dakota’s geology ensures it will “never see production come to the extent that North Dakota has,” there’s still a lot of unexplored potential.
Iles pointed to studies done in western South Dakota in the 1950s that showed “tight shale” — similar to what’s found in the Bakken — that was of little commercial interest at the time. But with the capabilities of today’s technology, Iles believes those areas might be worth a closer look. “I think we’re under explored ,” he said.
Tim Fisher, Founder Bakken Energy Service www.bakkenenergyservice.com and Ed Schafer, former Governor of North Dakota were Interviewed by Heidi Bell Gease in Rapid City Journal on December 12, 2012 • Heidi Bell Gease Journal staff Heidi Bell Gease at 605-394-8419 or email@example.com.