As of 2012, North Dakota has overtaken California to become the third-largest U.S. oil-producing state, as fracking technology has boosted shale oil output.  Production has doubled in the three years since 2009. The boom in oil production in the region has also effectively cut the Midwestern state’s unemployment rate to the lowest in the country, at 3.3% as of December 2011.  In fact, oil companies say there are more jobs than people in North Dakota. The oil boom has arrived with its perks and troubles, as the state rushes to keep up with infrastructure and development needs.

The downside of the Bakken oil development includes inadequate water and wastewater treatment systems, eroding gravel roads, scarce housing, and spread-thin services. As it is, the state is teeming with field hands who followed drilling rigs into the once-agrarian state. They crowd camps or sleep in their cars while the housing stock struggles to catch up with their influx. The lack of housing thwarts the ability to hire workers and is threatening the continued growth and development of the Bakken shale.

Realtors, city departments, commerce chambers, and other entities receive hundreds of phone calls each day inquiring on how to participate in what may be the hottest economy and housing market in the entire country. Your best chance to engage a new project is to do your homework and be prepared with a specific plan of action when you contact someone in the region. The Williston area is host to “The Bakken Housing Summit” which will be held May 16 and 17, 2012 in Williston, North Dakota, focusing on the challenge to build 5,000 homes in Western North Dakota in the next 24 months. Opportunities abound for landowners, developers, and builders who have the knowhow as well as the right development team to overcome the region’s challenges.

Baseline Engineering Firm has worked performing survey and design for several housing projects and now has a permanent presence in North Dakota. For information or assistance on projects in the North Dakota region, please contact Baseline by phone (303)940-9966 or email Rick Behning rick (at) or Noah Nemmers at noah (at)