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Energy Symposium on Bakken Oil in Billings

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    basil parmesan

    Energy Hub Symposium at Billings

    Oct 18, 2011 / BILLINGS – He’s the envy of economic development gurus across the country, and he’ll share his perspective on the Bakken Oil boom with the Billings business community at Thursday’s Energy Hub Symposium at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

    Tom Rolfstad is executive director of Williston Economic Development. In that position he oversees what many believe is the fastest growing economy in the nation.

    Thanks to the Bakken oil play, Williston, North Dakota now boasts the country’s lowest unemployment rate, the highest personal income gains, and the lowest rate of mortage delinquencies. But, believe it or not, not everyone is excited about it. Housing continues to be the biggest challenge.

    “It’s hard to find a room under $100/night in Williston…you can find rooms close to $200/night,….It’s crazy,” said Rolfstad. “The part that’s been hard is apartments. With all this new development, the cost of building new apartments is substantially higher, so that has created higher rents, and now the demand is causing people to overcharge,” explained Rolfstad.

    Rolfstad’s message at Friday’s symposium will be that Billings is perfectly situated to be part of the boom.

    “Our economies are intertwined. While Williston may be at the literal center of this oil basin, we rely on Billings as a source of supplies, not only for alot of finished goods, but even for machinery and trucking,” said Rolfstad. “You are part of the supply chain for this whole oil play.”

    Rolfstad already can count more than 50 Billings based companies that are involved in the Williston area economy.
    “From Sanderson Stewart doing work to design our new subdivisions, to Tractor & Equipment selling Caterpillars, to the guy’s who’s moving the dirt,” explained Rolfstad.

    Rolfstad is one of the keynote speakers to address the Big Sky Economic Development Corporation’s Annual Luncheon at Thursday’s symposium.

    His topic -the challenges and opportunity Williston faces with such rapid growth of the oil industry in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota.

    Big Sky Economic Development officials says more than 200 people have signed up for Friday’s Energy Hub Symposium, making this year’s annual meeting the largest in recent memory.

    Also providing a keynote presentation will be Rex. W. Bennett, President of ConocoPhillips’ Strategy, Intergration and Specialty Business. Bennett will provide an overview of ConocoPhillips, including a history of the Billings refinery as well as an update on the coke drum project.

    The symposium also features a series of free seminars that start at 8:30 Thursday morning, followed by the Annual Meeting Luncheon atg 11:30.

    Q2 will have a full report on the symposium during Tonight’s 5:30 and 10 pm newscasts.

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