It used to be that [a country] having oil was synonymous with being wealthy. That may still be the case, I suppose. But with the way oil prices have fallen significantly of recent, I am not sure that I can ‘look at’ oil the same way until things improve. Previously, whenever I heard [crude] oil, in my mind’s eye, I saw $$$ signs. haha.
Anyway, the time I went to North Dakota was when oil was still heavily respected [by me] so I was pretty excited. It was a business trip and I was going to work on some engines. I work in the power generation industry and the engines I would be working on were powering generator sets that supplied electricity to the oil pumping equipment located in the oil fields there.
I didn’t even know North Dakota had oil! Goes to show it’s not just Nigeria, Angola, and Saudi Arabia in this game. At the time, all I knew about North Dakota was that it had very harsh winters, and they have a good engineering/agriculture school there- North Dakota State University (NDSU). I know a few engineering grads from there. So of course, I told them I was headed there. This was October so I was duly warned to pack for a proper winter, just in case. That didn’t scare me though; all I could think about was I was adding a new city to my list and I was going to a land flowing with oil.
When I landed at Minot airport and I walked outside, it wasn’t that cold. I heaved a huge sigh of relief. It was super windy though. Over there, it’s not so congested with buildings- lots of open field so ample opportunity for one to feel the wind.
The oil fields were in different
cities towns(?) far from Minot. For one of them, it was a 3 hour drive one way and the other field I visited was 1 hour in a further direction from the first one. Thankfully, I didn’t have to drive. Something about needing a permit to drive/do work in the area, Native American/Indian laws, reservation stuff. That was definitely fine by me! My colleague (who had a permit) did all that driving.
The scenery on the drive to and from the oil fields was absolutely gorgeous. It was early mornings and late nights so I got to see the sunrise and sunset with the sky lit in pretty colors. I also saw the coolest thing ever- flare fires! As I gathered from my conversations with the people at the oil site, when the oil is ‘struck’, there is compressed gas which gets released first so they can either capture it and use it for the things natural gas is used for or burn it off as flare gas.
Morning Drive Pics
Engineer at Work
The roads got rough at some point on the drive to the second oil field (they weren’t tarred).
This oil field had a farm nearby so I saw a few horses and cows. I did not go to pet them.
The Farm Animals
The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful- hills, lakes, rocks, all pretty shapes and colors, you name it! The drive back to the hotel was pretty fun as well and I got to see a full moon! 🙂
Evening Drive Pics
It was a great opportunity for me as I got to see oil pumping equipment and learn more about how oil is obtained from the ground. It also helps to be surrounded by all this beauty while working on engines ;).
It was a pretty cool trip and I’m glad I got the opportunity to visit and learn :).
What else do you know about North Dakota?