Williston, North Dakota is transformed into boomtown - thanks to fracking
Farmers become millionaires overnight thanks to controversial oil producing procedure
"Fracking," a controversial procedure that produces crude oil through ecologically questionable procedures, has turned many into billionaire oil barons overnight. Tiny North Dakota, mostly rural and populated by farmers, has since turned into America's second-biggest oil producer.
A U.S. government report announced that geologists believe the Monterey Shale, a geological formation covering 1,750 square miles south of San Francisco, could hold more than 15 billion barrels of oil.
Fracking production in Texas, Wyoming, Montana and Ohio mean U.S. oil production exceeds seven million barrels a day for the first time in 20 years.
This is good news, as America is on track to be energy independent in five years and become "Saudi America." potentially overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer within a decade.
North Dakota, above the Bakken formation, which is 200,000 square miles containing vast oil deposits only recently accessible thanks to fracking, has since been dubbed "Kuwait on the prairie" by locals still pinching themselves at their good fortune.
As many as 12 new millionaires are being created each week thanks to companies leasing mineral rights beneath land often held by farming families for generations.
The towns of Williston, its population a mere 14,716 and Stanley, with only 4,000 people, 75 miles away, are at the epicenter of the "Bakken boom."
Plunging temperatures and heavy snow failed to dampen the sense of excitement in the air in Stanley last week. Fracking started here five years ago, but it has only been in the past 18 months that locals say it has "gone mad."
Locals are not worried about environmental concerns which have dominated the fracking debate worldwide. Oil deposits here are 20,000-30,000ft down. The water supply here is at 1,000 feet.
"We love this land more than anyone. The oil companies work with us, they clean the fracking water before they take it away and there are safety inspectors crawling all over the rigs," one local farmer beams.
"We have zero unemployment, the economy is booming and we are playing a massive part in making America energy independent. You won't hear any moaning around here - well, maybe from those folk who don't own mineral rights."
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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