You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This North Dakota Oil Boomtown

Williston Oil Worker

[credit provider=”Robert Johnson — Business Insider”]

10 years ago Williston, North Dakota was a quiet agricultural town with a population around 12,000.Today, because of oil prices and drilling advancements, Williston is home to America’s biggest oil boom and its residents number over 30,000.

Home prices are soaring, unemployment is close to zero and people from around the country are flocking here for jobs where the starting pay can easily exceed $100,000.

Williston has already received lots of media attention, but what I saw when visiting last week was stranger than I could have imagined.

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[slide
permalink=”williston-north-dakota-is-in-the-northwestern-portion-of-the-state-not-far-from-montana-and-canada-1″
title=”Williston, North Dakota is in the Northwestern portion of the state, not far from Montana and Canada”
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[slide
permalink=”the-town-happens-to-sit-in-the-center-of-the-large-bakken-oil-formation–640-square-miles-of-oil-holding-up-to-34-billion-barrels-2″
title=”The town happens to sit in the centre of the large Bakken oil formation — 640 square miles of oil, holding up to 34 billion barrels”
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[slide
permalink=”recent-advancements-in-fracking-allow-operators-to-go-deeper-more-precisely-than-ever-before-3″
title=”Recent advancements in fracking allow operators to go deeper, more precisely than ever before”
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[slide
permalink=”despite-seeing-a-boom-in-the-1950s-and-a-second-one-in-the-late-70s-williston-hasnt-changed-much-over-the-years-4″
title=”Despite seeing a boom in the 1950s and a second one in the late ’70s, Williston hasn’t changed much over the years”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681f7ecad048436000046″
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[slide
permalink=”but-with-this-third-boom-the-town-is-filled-with-all-facets-of-the-oil-industry-this-truck-is-filled-with-potassium-carbonate-for-fracking-5″
title=”But with this third boom, the town is filled with all facets of the oil industry. This truck is filled with potassium carbonate for fracking.”
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[slide
permalink=”despite-offering-a-wealth-of-job-opportunities-and-a-better-than-living-wage-there-are-very-few-places-to-live-most-workers-strive-to-get-into-one-of-the-many-man-camps-6″
title=”Despite offering a wealth of job opportunities and a better-than-living wage, there are very few places to live. Most workers strive to get into one of the many “Man Camps.””
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permalink=”some-of-the-nicer-camps-have-recreation-rooms-like-this-and-laundry-facilities-7″
title=”Some of the nicer camps have recreation rooms like this, and laundry facilities”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f577795ecad04fc5e000048″
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[slide
permalink=”there-is-some-new-housing-finally-going-up-this-model-home-is-went-on-the-market-for-more-than-originally-thought-as-prices-from-labor-to-materials-are-skyrocketing-8″
title=”There is some new housing finally going up. This model home is went on the market for more than originally thought as prices from labour to materials are skyrocketing.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5775bb6bb3f7032500002f”
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[slide
permalink=”these-homes-are-all-owned-by-halliburton-9″
title=”These homes are all owned by Halliburton”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f577c1269bedd1c1000001c”
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[slide
permalink=”land-like-this-went-for-500-an-acre-not-long-ago-the-people-who-own-this-153-acres-recently-turned-down-200k-an-acre-10″
title=”Land like this went for $500 an acre not long ago. The people who own this 153 acres recently turned down $200K an acre.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f57762aeab8ea0b40000036″
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[slide
permalink=”these-apartments-are-almost-completely-leased-before-theyre-complete-if-you-can-manage-to-get-one-expect-to-pay-2000-a-month-for-a-small-one-bedroom-and-3400-for-a-three-bedroom-11″
title=”These apartments are almost completely leased before they’re complete. If you can manage to get one, expect to pay $2,000 a month for a small one bedroom and $3,400 for a three bedroom.”
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[slide
permalink=”for-a-while-wal-mart-was-allowing-campers-to-park-in-its-lot-and-workers-to-sleep-there-but-the-superstore-asked-everyone-to-move-last-month-12″
title=”For a while, Wal-Mart was allowing campers to park in its lot and workers to sleep there, but the superstore asked everyone to move last month”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681f3eab8ea226b000033″
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[slide
permalink=”the-trailers-had-numbered-signs-like-this-in-the-window-forming-their-own-numbered-neighborhood-this-trailer-is-now-wedged-across-the-street-behind-some-stores-13″
title=”The trailers had numbered signs like this in the window, forming their own numbered neighbourhood. This trailer is now wedged across the street behind some stores.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5772a6eab8ea8542000004″
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[slide
permalink=”despite-a-warm-winter-its-cold-here-and-most-people-have-some-sort-of-heater-in-their-car-they-all-know-its-dangerous-and-that-one-wrong-move-can-turn-your-car-into-a-blazing-inferno-14″
title=”Despite a warm winter, it’s cold here, and most people have some sort of heater in their car. They all know it’s dangerous, and that one wrong move can turn your car into a blazing inferno.”
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[slide
permalink=”across-640-square-miles-of-oil-experts-estimate-four-drills-will-be-placed-every-square-mile-15″
title=”Across 640 square miles of oil, experts estimate four drills will be placed every square mile”
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[slide
permalink=”some-men-try-and-bring-their-families-but-it-can-be-tough-schools-are-crowded-and-conditions-are-harsh-16″
title=”Some men try and bring their families, but it can be tough. Schools are crowded and conditions are harsh.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681fdeab8ea226b000037″
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[slide
permalink=”there-is-also-a-shortage-of-workers-this-restaurant-closed-down-last-year-when-it-failed-to-find-sufficient-staff-it-converted-to-a-buffet-17″
title=”There is also a shortage of workers. This restaurant closed down last year when it failed to find sufficient staff. It converted to a buffet.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f57733a69bedd1176000023″
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[slide
permalink=”the-wages-are-good-with-no-experience-it-is-common-for-workers-to-start-at-over-100000-the-hours-are-long-and-the-work-can-be-rough-but-many-come-here-from-across-the-us-to-save-their-homes-18″
title=”The wages are good. With no experience it is common for workers to start at over $100,000. The hours are long and the work can be rough, but many come here from across the US to save their homes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681faeab8ea486000006d”
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[slide
permalink=”the-hours-are-so-long-that-men-sleep-and-they-work-spouses-look-for-ways-to-make-money-by-providing-the-most-basic-of-services-to-the-overworked-crews-like-cooking-19″
title=”The hours are so long, that men sleep, and they work. Spouses look for ways to make money by providing the most basic of services to the overworked crews. Like cooking.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5778a5eab8eaf33a000048″
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[slide
permalink=”and-doing-their-very-dirty-laundry-20″
title=”And doing their very dirty laundry”
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[slide
permalink=”the-work-can-also-be-dangerous-gases-like-hydrogen-sulfide-can-be-found-along-with-the-oil-this-yellow-flag-at-the-drill-site-announces-that-poisonous-gas-may-be-present-21″
title=”The work can also be dangerous. Gases like hydrogen sulfide can be found along with the oil. This yellow flag at the drill site announces that poisonous gas may be present.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681f56bb3f74f70000053″
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[slide
permalink=”oil-is-just-a-portion-of-the-deposit-this-well-is-having-its-natural-gas-burned-off-in-a-process-called-flaring-the-well–check-out-the-video-at-the-link-below-22″
title=”Oil is just a portion of the deposit. This well is having its natural gas burned off in a process called “flaring the well” — check out the video at the link below”
content=”Check out video of this flare here >
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5770e0ecad04f06000001e”
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[slide
permalink=”once-the-derrick-is-removed-and-the-well-drilled-the-site-will-look-like-this-even-after-all-the-wells-are-drilled-they-will-need-to-be-maintained-and-updated-23″
title=”Once the derrick is removed and the well drilled, the site will look like this. Even after all the wells are drilled they will need to be maintained and updated.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681fdecad04904200000c”
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[slide
permalink=”wells-are-going-down-so-fast-there-is-little-security-and-the-oil-is-coming-up-faster-than-it-can-be-delivered-oil-groups-are-limited-to-two-pipelines-and-the-oil-is-backing-up-so-fast-drilling-has-slowed-24″
title=”Wells are going down so fast there is little security, and the oil is coming up faster than it can be delivered. Oil groups are limited to two pipelines, and the oil is backing up so fast, drilling has slowed.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681feecad046136000058″
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[slide
permalink=”here-is-a-load-of-proppant-from-china-used-to-frac-a-well-sitting-at-the-rail-head-25″
title=”Here is a load of proppant from China, used to frac a well, sitting at the rail-head”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681fd69bedd0f60000048″
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[slide
permalink=”fracking-pipe-is-brought-in-largely-by-rail-and-the-railroad-is-also-adding-jobs-26″
title=”Fracking pipe is brought in largely by rail and the railroad is also adding jobs”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5780e6eab8ea525800001c”
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[slide
permalink=”all-of-this-is-going-on-amid-some-pretty-stunning-scenery-27″
title=”All of this is going on amid some pretty stunning scenery”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681f76bb3f7687c000015″
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[slide
permalink=”and-an-abundance-of-wildlife-28″
title=”And an abundance of wildlife”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5681fceab8ea5b7900000e”
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[slide
permalink=”this-waitress-at-a-local-truck-stop-said-its-not-uncommon-for-some-to-make-750-a-day-waiting-tables-29″
title=”This waitress at a local truck stop said it’s not uncommon, for some, to make $750 a day waiting tables”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f56820369bedd1965000051″
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[slide
permalink=”everywhere-you-look-there-are-campers-filled-with-job-seekers-30″
title=”Everywhere you look there are campers filled with job seekers”
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[slide
permalink=”for-some-the-oil-field-is-a-chance-to-forge-a-future-31″
title=”For some, the oil field is a chance to forge a future”
content=”This young man is chasing the American dream in Williston >
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f5903fdeab8ea0831000047″
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[/slideshow]