Saturday, March 3, 2012

Man-Camp Moratorium No Longer An Issue, But Reasoning Is Specious


March 3, 2012: Link to Debbie Downer. Stark County bans all new man-camps. As noted below, this is not a big deal. McKenzie County will take up the slack. The commissioners provided a multitude of reasons; did not say anything about their dislike for men living together. See Richardton. Abbey. Just say "no" to millions of dollars.

Original Post

Link here to the Bismarck Tribune.
The moratorium would have expired next week, but commissioner Dan Kalil said the reasons for it being put in place haven’t changed.

“We’re still out of water, we’re still out of sewage capacity, we’re short of electricity and there’s no room on the highways for anyone else,” Kalil said.

Williams County has already approved 9,777 beds, and approximately 6,600 of those have actually been built, meaning there’s still another 3,000 beds or so before approved permits are maxed out.

Kalil said the commission’s discussion revolved around what kind of development it prefers for the county.

“If these companies need places for workers, they can build apartment buildings. They can make long-term investments. If this (oil development) is going to last another 20 to 30 years they can add some value to the community rather that set out more of these temporary beds,” he said.
This is not a major issue any more, the decision to ban additional man-camps. The reasoning is a bit specious. As far as I know apartment buildings use water, sewer, and electricity. If the boom is a bust, temporary man-camps go away; apartment buildings will remain, empty. 

But, this is why the Williams County decision is no longer a big deal:
  • infrastructure is catching up
  • companies are looking to contain costs this year and may actually cut back in some areas
  • there are still about 3,000 beds approved yet to be added (30% of existing total)
  • there are about twelve (12) new motels/hotels in Williston since the boom began
  • countless number of apartment complexes have gone up since the boom began
  • single-unit housing has increased significantly since the boom began
  • the activity is moving south of Williston
  • Minot will gladly take the higher earning, white collar, management and professional segment
  • McKenzie County is still in an "expansionist move" and will take up the slack
  • too many inexperienced mom-and-pop operators wanted to get into the man-camp business
  • the agreement to allow consideration of the current man-camps to expand: most of these are professionally run, state-of-the-art
The only thing more man-camps might bring now are a) more mom-and-pop start-ups; and, b) lower nightly rates.

For newbies:
The North Dakota Bakken has two centers of activity: the north, and the south. The south is in the Dickinson area and will eventually see growth but right now it is not experiencing the growth that the north is experiencing. The north is centered in four counties: Williams, Mountrail, McKenzie, and Dunn.
Mountrail County took the initial lead but is now less active relative to the other three counties. The Sanish remains huge but Whiting is in manufacturing mode there and a status quo has developed. There are adequate resources.
Dunn County is dominated by the reservation. There is a lot of activity there; it will probably be more active than Mountrail over the long term, but it, too, seems to be in manufacturing mode and making do with the available resources.
Williams County has two areas of interest: north/northwest/northeast of Williston, and east/southeast of Williston. The first area will be developed more slowly; it's good, but not great, and CLR seems to have this area also in manufacturing mode, making do with the available resources.
McKenzie County has two areas of  interest: the northeast/north (just directly south of Williston and also northeast of Watford City; and, all the rest of the county.  The first area, the northeast/east area of McKenzie County and the east/southeast area of Williams County is the bull's eye of the Bakken in the north. This is where the activity is headed in 2012. As noted above, McKenzie County is still in expansion mode and will make up for any shortfall in man-camps due to moratoria in surrounding counties.


  1. Watch for a man camp 1 mile south of arnegard. Being permitted right now. HG logistics. 1400 Beds

    1. Arnegard is in McKenzie County: as noted above, McKenzie County will take up the slack. Arnegard is halfway between Alexander and Watford City, in the bull's eye of the Bakken, on US Highway 85.

  2. Lots of new permits in the Strandhal field area of Williams County and my understanding that more will be coming.

    1. Strandahl field is northwest of Williston; abuts Bull Butte which is just southeast of Strandahl. Bull Butte is a reasonably good area and home of the Kalil wells.

  3. Williams County chairman Dan Kalil appears to be under enormous stress, the poor thing forgot to mention empty grocery stores. Maybe his anti-growth anti-hydrocarbon friends could collect enough money to send him on a Caribbean Cruse.

    1. I delayed publishing this comment, and then I saw the story about Rhonda from Detroit moving to Williston where she liked the laid-back lifestyle.