Oil production in the Bakken formation has been going strong for two years now, and experts say businesses in Rapid City and western South Dakota are well-positioned to tap into the biggest economic boom to hit the area in decades.
A one-day conference planned for Tuesday, Dec. 11, in Rapid City is designed to give area residents a realistic view of what is happening in North Dakota and to help identify needs and opportunities in the Williston Basin, according to event organizers.
“Opportunities in the Bakken & West River Expansion” is scheduled to run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn. It’s aimed at West River businesspeople, entrepreneurs, service providers, investors and workers.
“When your community doubles in size in a short amount of time, the infrastructure can’t sustain the needs of the public,” said Paul Hegg, president and CEO of Hegg Companies, one of the event sponsors. “Wherever you look, there are needs.”
Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer will be the keynote conference speaker at 8 a.m. He served two terms as governor from 1992 to 2000, served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush, and is now on the board of directors for Continental Resources Inc., an oil exploration/production company doing business in North Dakota.
Other speakers will include experts in oil, gas, real estate, economic development and other businesses, as well as political leaders.
The summit is sponsored by the Hegg Companies of Sioux Falls and by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company of Chicago.
The conference will start with a “Bakken Shale 101” session, followed by sessions on how oil development has impacted North Dakota, economic development opportunities in North Dakota, oil projections in South Dakota, economic development and real estate opportunities in western South Dakota, North Dakota real estate, real estate financing options and the future of the Bakken and Williston Basin and the impact in North and South Dakota.
Hegg said economic opportunities could ebb and flow, but the overall trend is up, and he expects that to continue.
"Those who say the opportunity has been missed in the Bakken are the same folks that said to avoid Apple when the Mac was introduced," he said.