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Ukrainian Refugees Fill Positions In North Dakota Oil Industry

Ukrainian refugees are filling open job positions in the shale patch of North Dakota, thanks to a humanitarian program, the AP reports, noting 16 Ukrainians have already started work in the shale patch and another 12 are due to arrive later this month.

There are some 2,500 job vacancies in the Bakken shale play in North Dakota, which currently produces some 1.1 million barrels of oil daily. The output in the play peaked in 2019 at 1.5 million barrels daily and has been in decline since then.

As of June, there were 38 drilling rigs in the Bakken but North Dakota’s mineral resources director Lynn Helms said at the time that these should bounce back to the mid-40s when the first batch of Ukrainian workers under the humanitarian program arrived.

“If this workforce program works as well as we hope, we’re going to see that rig count bounce back, and that adds a lot of dollars to North Dakota’s economy,” Helms said in June, as quoted by the Bismarck Tribune.

The program, dubbed Bakken Global Recruitment of Oilfield Workers, or GROW, was launched earlier this year with the aim of filling job vacancies in the Bakken through immigration with the initial focus on Ukrainians.

The Bakken shale play is still one of the biggest producing oil regions in the U.S. shale patch. The biggest player there is Harold Hamm’s Continental Resources, the company that revealed the true potential of the place back in the early 2000s.

Since then, however, natural depletion has reduced the output of crude oil while increasing the production of natural gas, Bloomberg reported earlier this year. At the time, the Energy Information Administration cited this decline in Bakken oil output as the reason for a revision of 2024 oil production figures.

Those were revised down to a total of 12.65 million barrels daily, from an earlier projection of 12.8 million bpd.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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