Williston Ordinance Deals Blow To The Bakken Man-Camp Permit Extensions

The Bakken oil fields have faced a year of increasing challenges. In December of 2014 Bakkenshale.com reported that OPEC “refused to decrease production in order to curb the falling price of crude." This was apparently a tactic designed to force a crisis in the shale industry and weed out the weaker players. One year later Bakkenshale.com reports a list of casualties to the industry that include a decrease in investment in new projects, rising bankruptcies, a 5% drop in employment in the oil industry sector, losses of over $75 billion, and reports that some companies may not have the funds to continue current drilling to completion.

Now Bakkenshale reports another hit to the reeling industry. On November 24, 2015, in a 3-2 vote, the Williston City Commission approved an ordinance that prohibits the extension of permits for Man-Camps past July of 2016. Man-camps are temporary housing facilities built by the energy companies to accommodate the influx of roughnecks in the Bakken region as the boom began. In 2011 there were 12,000 approved beds.

A Bloomberg article says that the goal is to force workers out of the temporary housing and into the permanent housing that was financed and built when the industry was in a much stronger place. Unfortunately this action is another hardship for the already struggling oil industry workers. Piping installer Daniel Krohn told Bloomberg that he can’t afford to pay the increased rents and still feed his family. Krohn say’s “I’m ready to go,” but Williston Mayor Howard Klug told BakkenShale.com “the city will be working on an amendment that might may include allowing some of the city’s crew camps to remain open.”

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