It’s week #2 since the “Guru of Geek” Marlo Anderson has been out of the studio. Once again, Dave Blair has agreed to hold down the mic on this episode of The Tech Ranch. Today, Dave welcomes Ron Ness in the studio to discuss the oil industry in North Dakota.
Ron Ness has been involved in the oil industry for several years. First, serving as President of the North Dakota Retail and Petroleum Marketers Association and currently serving as President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The knowledge that Mr. Ness has for the oil industry in North Dakota has helped bring the most modern technology into the state, making North Dakota competitive with other oil producing states, such as Texas.
Historically, the oil industry has been active in North Dakota since the 1920s. After years of studying the land in western North Dakota, oil was finally “hit” in the 1950s on a wheat farm near Dickinson. Up until that time, geologists in North Dakota were certain there was oil available for drilling. Ron Ness explains that 360 million years ago, North Dakota was a shallow sea bed, with temperatures like those similar to present day Costa Rico. Over a period of millions of years, Mr. Ness says that the results of natural evolution has provided today’s present day oil boom in the state, also known as the Bakken.
Oil investment in the state has increased over the years. Mr. Ness explains through the years, technology has played the most important roll in how oil is drilled in the state. State-of-the-art advancements are found throughout the Bakken. From the early beginnings of using vertical drilling to today’s hydraulic fracturing (fracking) methods, oil drilling has evolved. Safer more efficient drilling methods have allowed the export of oil quicker and more efficiently. Mr. Ness says North Dakota is currently having a quiet period for oil production. This means that there are still wells being drilled, the activity of the oil field isn’t as robust as it was a few years ago. However, Mr. Ness says times like this allow the state to examine technology to bring into the oil business and apply those methods through evaluation of what works and what doesn’t. In the end, the best way to provide a safer environment is to study the products and methods available to the oil industry. Quiet times allow the state to focus on improvements to the industry, in turn making production more efficient and environmentally safe.
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Broadcast Date October 23, 2017 Episode 290