A trip to an oil boomtown transformed by thousands of young men arriving to find work:
I’d heard Williston was a magical place. A small town where the recession didn’t exist, where you could make six figures driving a truck, and where oil bubbles straight up from the Earth’s Bakken layer like water from an elementary school fountain. Or at least that’s what I saw on the news.
Men came to Williston, worked hard, and saved their homes from foreclosure back in Texas, Florida, or Oklahoma. The women stayed home with the kids – there just wasn’t enough housing for the little ones. So mostly just manly men doing manly things. It all sounded so masculine.
And it was all because of the North Dakota crude coming out of the frozen ground at a rate of a half-million barrels a day. In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, the United States imported less than half its oil from foreign countries, and that’s largely because of extraction in the Williston Basin, an area that stretches from west North Dakota to eastern Montana and up north to Saskatchewan. Little ol’ Williston – preboom population 12,000 – had become the rump capital of an oil country.