Spreading the oil wealth

North Dakota State Roundup

Published May 1, 2007  | May 2007 issue

Oil in the western part of the state continues to grab headlines. The last fiscal year showed that leasing activity was still strong, and daily production closed the 2006 calendar year at more than 110,000 barrels, the highest levels in almost two decades, according to the state Department of Mineral Resources. As of December, the state had a record number of active wells (3,600), along with 42 rigs in operation, the most since 1985.

That has translated into lots of non-oil activity. Williston is reportedly seeing its first significant housing subdivision in three decades. The state got a windfall in tax revenue last year, including $51 million in royalties and another $176 million in state leases and production and extraction taxes, according to an Associated Press report. Counties will get a fair share as well. Four western counties received $11 million in federal oil and gas leases, though much of it reportedly gets socked back into roads that have been torn up by trucks transporting both oil and heavy equipment.

Ronald A. Wirtz