Airport starts buying land and other Bakken updates – 4/25

Flights at Williston are limited to planes of this size. Photo by James Ulvog at Minneapolis airport.
Flights at Williston are limited to planes of this size. Photo at Minneapolis airport by James Ulvog.

The airport authority in Williston has started acquiring land for the new airport northwest of town.

Check out the slant in the following two headlines, both of which are for the exact same article:

Same article. Different agenda. Different headline.

On to the article…

One County Commissioner says the current facility will be sufficient if it’s upgraded. Airport Director says upgrades to comply with FAA standards would be something in the range of $240M to $350M. At best it would cost as much to upgrade the current facility as it would to build a new airport.

Another county commissioner says the airport is not needed “right now” and therefore shouldn’t be built.

This commissioner’s prediction for the next several decades is there will never again be a surge like existed in the recent years. He also predicts future staffing will involve no transient workforce to staff any future drilling. He confidently asserts that future drilling will be staffed with permanent workers.

I’m not making that up. Sure, it looks like I’m putting words in his mouth, but I’m not. Those are his predictions.

I trust those workers currently living in Louisiana and Texas who used to fly in for two weeks at a time get the message that they need to permanently relocate their families before any rigs can move back in production. Transient workers in the oil industry are a thing of the past, at least in North Dakota, at least according to one county commissioner.

Current timeline on the airport is a groundbreaking in the spring with completion tentatively expected in the fall of 2018. The article says those dates may slip.

Breakout of the expected cost:

  • $120M – pending FAA funding
  •   $59M – committed state dollars
  •   $27M – committed FAA funding for land acquisition
  •   $48M – proceeds of sale of old airport property and ongoing revenue
  • $254M – total estimated cost

2/25 – Bismarck Tribune – Violent crimes down in Williston, but drug investigations up – City police report the number of violent crimes in 2015 dropped compared to 2014. The number of drug investigations rose.

2/29 – Dickinson Press – Minot opens new $43 million airport terminal – A larger terminal officially opened Monday. A new apron, parking lot, and storage building for the snow removal equipment are in operation. Additions other than the terminal cost $75M. The old terminal will be torn down and the space used for parking.

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