Board experiences oil boom firsthand

June 24, 2014

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Before last month’s Board meeting, the State Board of Higher Education had the opportunity to see the oil boom firsthand. Board member Kathleen Neset hosted the meeting at her company, Neset Consulting’s headquarters outside Tioga, North Dakota. Thanks to Neset and the Hess Corporation, the Board members and NDUS staff were able to participate in a “Follow the Barrel” tour prior to their meeting.

“Our time at the drilling rig was such a unique opportunity,” said Board member Grant Shaft. “I felt privileged to see something like that up close, especially since I don’t have a lot of experience with the drilling activity.”

The tour took the group to the EN-Ortloff B05 Drilling Site, the Tioga Gas Plant and the Tioga Rail Terminal. While in Tioga, the Board and NDUS staff stayed at the Capital Lodge crew camp to get the full Bakken experience.

“In recent years we have had to address some special needs on our western campuses related to the oil boom. And, until you’re actually out there and seeing the effects it can be hard to fully understand,” said Shaft.

The opportunity to experience what it’s like in an oil-impacted community and see how the industry works firsthand was invaluable to the Board, and can provide context for decisions going forward. As the oil industry continues to grow, higher education and our state are encountering some challenges, but feeling the benefits as well. One such benefit is the ability for the state to invest more in higher education.

“We have a unique opportunity to plug our students into the state, make them proud members of our state and keep them in North Dakota,” said Shaft.

Special thanks to Hess Corporation, Capital Lodge, Kathleen Neset and everyone at Neset Consulting for providing this unforgettable experience.