Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas in the Bakken Formation, North Dakota
It’s Christmas in Boomtown.
Williston, N.D., is ground zero in America's energy renaissance, with six-figure salaries the norm and stunning prosperity that extends from the oil and gas derricks to the construction, sales and service industries. But for much of the burgeoning population that has converged on Williston and other towns on the Bakken Formation, Christmas will be spent where the jobs, not the loved ones, are.
Not so for Sherri Knapp and Elijah Moyo, who are reunited this year as Moyo settles in to his lucrative new life as a crane operator. Knapp has traveled north from Florida to join her husband as they make their new home in prosperous Williston.
“It’s wonderful. Things are a lot better,” Knapp told FoxNews.com. “Last year he came home two weeks before the holiday, but this year we will be together on Christmas.”
The story of Moyo, originally from Zimbabwe, is not unlike many of the thousands of men drawn to the modern-day gold rush in the once sleepy state. The couple was living in their new home in Florida when Moyo sought the builder to pose a question about the dishwasher. He found his man - in North Dakota.
"He said he was in North Dakota building homes," Kapp said. "When Elijah asked him why he was up there he asked her husband if he had heard about the oil production.
Moyo quit the two jobs he held to make ends meet and went north and try to find opportunity. He started out as dishwasher at one of the worker camps. But soon after, he had earned his crane operator’s license, and 14 months later he found a big-paying job with Basin Concrete. He said he earns four times what he made working two jobs in Florida.
With an unemployment rate of just one percent, Williston is booming. Homes and new businesses are being built daily as more workers arrive seeking steady work. Like Moyo, they typically send for their families one they settle in. Williston is braced to expand from just 12,000 residents to an estimated 90,000 within 15 years.
“We’re growing as fast as you can grow,” Lee Lusht, president of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, told FoxNews.com. “We’ve built 2,500 units of housing this year."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/24/christmas-in-bakken-formation-north-dakota-city-sees-growth-from-fracking/