As business continues to boom in North Dakota's oil patch, serious doubts about the area's infrastructure are leading to opportunities for Minnesota businesses.
That's the word from this Star Tribune story, which says that Corval Group, founded in St. Paul in 1921 as a family-owned heating-and-plumbing company, hopes to help with that infrastructure.
“We see ourselves as part of the solution to bringing energy to market in an environmentally responsible way,’’ CEO Paul Jordan tells the paper. “The refineries, roads, bridges and other infrastructure … will help the communities and be the sustainable stuff that will help people stay in North Dakota. For us, that’s exciting. And that’s what they want.”
Some hard facts: The Strib says the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, whose region includes North Dakota, reported about the oil boom that the state’s spending will increase by 70 percent over the 2013-15 period, to $6.9 billion. Yet critics say that’s short of what hard-pressed localities need as small-town populations surge, taxing services from public safety to sewage treatment facilities.
While oil is a boom for many, it's also a bust for some, as most towns in the area are unprepared for such unprecedented growth.
Rob Grunewald, a Minneapolis Fed economist,tells the paper the Bakken area represents an “unprecedented amount of growth … a plus for the oil and gas companies and workers, and businesses who sell to them. But for pre-boom residents, the fixed-income elderly … there is more traffic and dust and pain of … rents going up three or fourfold.”
The state government has been running an infrastructure grant program. And reports about the problems affiliated with the boom have been lingering for more than a year, as this Businessweek story attests.
There's even one online forum dedicated to energy and solutions.
And this think-tank paper notes that in 2005, before the oil boom in North Dakota, 6,000 people in the state were employed in the oil and gas sector. Six years later, that number had jumped to 35,000.