Booming Bakken continues to need ‘a little of everything’

Plenty of opportunities for workers, entrepreneurs and investors continue to exist in Bakken oil-producing communities.

Consider, for example, this assessment from Shawn Wenko, assistant director of the city Economic Development Office in Williston, N.D.:

“We need a little bit of everything. We basically have taken a city and we’ve tripled the size of the land mass and the size of the population,” Wenko tells host Bill Daniels in the latest edition of The Hegg Bakken Report.

The podcast, which features news from the Bakken oil patch, can be accessed here on our website or at

Development priorities have shifted in the oil-production boomtown of Williston.
Instead of trying to create jobs, community developers are focusing on enhancing the longer-term sustainability of the community. That’s a positive sign for business development.

Williston is experiencing tremendous growth. The community issued building permits for projects valued at more than $470 million in 2012, and the pace has not slowed.

“If we match that or pass that this year, it’s not going to surprise me because we’re well on the track to do that,” Wenko says in the podcast.

The population of Williston is hard to pinpoint because of the number of workers in the area. However, the city estimates that it provides water services to 40,000 to 42,000 people. North Dakota State University has projected that the community’s population will reach 50,000 to 60,000 in 2017.

“It’s going at a breakneck pace. Sometimes I would say it gets a little overwhelming. But it’s exciting to see the city develop,” Wenko says.