WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 15, 2010, 08:17 AM

Running with Oil: Life on the Rig

(WDAY TV) - The numbers behind the story are numbing: Up to 12-thousand new workers, 143-oil drilling rigs, 100-million barrels of oil, and the chance of a billion dollars in revenue flowing into the North Dakota treasury. And, it's coming out of Western North Dakota. For the next week, WDAY 6 News, as part of a Forum Communications special project, takes a look at life in the oil patch: From a rare look at life on a rig to the state's new millionaires.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

As part of our special report: "Running with Oil", WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand and Photographer Chad Nelson tonight are from near New Town, North Dakota on top of Rig 59.

If you are going to play like a roughneck, be prepared to work like one. On board Rig 59, the men of Bronco Drilling know the drill. It is intense, dirty work.

“This is a rare glimpse at the 24-7 life of an oil drilling crew. Set ups like this one are popping up all across the buttes and hills of western North Dakota; 30-million barrels of oil alone in a year coming in from Mountrail County.

Young oil workers like Rory Sanford of Watford City works two weeks on and two weeks off. Helping on the platform and monitoring just how deep the drill is going before striking oil.

“We are going down 10 thousand foot straight down and ten thousand sideways, so about 20 thousand feet.”

These green pastures, home to grazing cattle, now being transformed into a backyard black gold money maker for ranchers and the state. It is good money, but tough work here on Rig 59. All day and all night, during nice summer days like this and winter nights of 40 below.

It's an adventure. Those who work the platform follow the oil boom. It's life on the drilling rig.

“Every day.”

Days of work, waiting, and planning for the next strike and another pump to prime. So far this year alone, more than 280-million dollars are coming into the state in oil revenue with nearly half those dollars rolling in from Stanley, North Dakota and Mountrail County.