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Move to North Dakota
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Nacirema Offline
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Post: #151
RE: Move to North Dakota
Looking forward to hearing more about this.
07-21-2013 09:39 PM
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Young T.R. Offline
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Post: #152
RE: Move to North Dakota
Williston, ND: What's going on here now, and how to take advantage of it

I'm in Williston, North Dakota right now. Been here about two weeks. There are so many opportunities here, especially for guys with CDLs, skilled trade experience, or who are willing to put in the work to learn. I have two official job offers right now, and a lot of other very promising leads (I've made great contacts at these companies through networking). The jobs I'm looking at all pay $22-26 an hour, offer tons of overtime and have some pretty cool benefits. At the end of the year these are $80-110k jobs. I could have a job today if I wanted, but I'm trying to stall a little bit so I can pick the best offer.

Drilling is slowing down, but there are still plenty of jobs in Well Servicing, Fracking, and Coiled Tubing. There are tons of driving jobs. Skilled trades and construction are in demand. This little skinny hippie kid I met who sleeps under a tarp said he got an offer to work pouring concrete for $20 an hour. He decided to work at Applebee's for $14 an hour. My buddy just went outside to smoke and got an offer to pour concrete for $25 an hour. You can still make bank at Walmart and the restaurants. Secretaries for the oil companies get something like $18-20 an hour starting out. This guy I met said his daughter is an accounting intern who makes $18 an hour and gets $800 a month living allowance.

I'll break down what I did to get to this point, and if anyone's interested I can elaborate and try to answer any questions you might have. I'm still sleeping in my truck at this point and on the move hitting up employers all day, so there might be stretches where I can't get online.

My background: landscaping, forestry, retail management, working on cars and fixing shit on my own. Useless liberal arts degree.

I decided I wanted to come here after reading this thread last November. I went out and got a second job (returning to retail which I swore I'd never do). I started putting things in motion to get my CDL. Making money and getting my CDL kept me busy until late May. It's possible to get a CDL in three weeks if you want, but I took private lessons which were more spaced out but much cheaper.


CDL

Having a CDL out here will help you immensely. It will triple your options out here. If you can get one, DO IT. Every crew needs drivers to move their shit heavy shit around.

The company that's given me the best offer so far only hires CDL drivers because they are a frac company (if you google image 'frac site' you'll know why lol). The other solid offer I got was also CDL only. So get it if you can. It might cost you around three grand. I was able to get mine for $1500 because I found a good private instructor and took only as many lessons as I needed to feel comfortable passing the test.

If you can't get a CDL for whatever reason, you can definitely still get a job. My buddy from class got a job at the first place he went to on his first day of job searching and he doesn't have a CDL. What he does have is a great attitude. He came in and said, “I'm ready to work today.” He had his steel-toed boots, gloves and hard-hat in his car. They had him piss in a cup and fill out the paper work for the fitness test. His supervisor came in, asked him if he was ready to work, tore up the fitness test paper work and said 'let's go to work'.


Floorhand Training Course

I signed up for a Floorhand Training Course at a technical school in Williston, ND. The first week of class was all classroom safety training (OSHA 10, H2S, IADC Rig Pass, First Aid, CPR, AED). The second week was hands-on training on a real workover rig as a Floorhand (entry level job). The program was created by the oil companies out here to train their own guys, so they set the curriculum and donated the rig and all the equipment used. They drilled the training well and set up the rig. The class ran me about a grand.

Well worth it, for the following reasons:

1. My first day of class, I got to meet five other guys in the same situation as me. New to town, money-hungry dudes, some sleeping in their cars like me. They became my crew and helped me out a lot.
2. The next day safety classes started. There were about 15 additional guys in my class for the rest of the week. These guys were sent by their current employers to update their safety certs. A lot of these guys were old-timers in the game and were a gold mine of info and networking opportunities. Despite being some hard-ass motherfuckers, they were funny as shit and really went out of their way to help the new guys. One guy took me under his wing, brought me to his company and introduced me to higher up guys and got me references there. Another guy drove us outside of town and showed us some different rigs and told us about them.
3. Some employers recognize the class as work experience, and will pay you more because you took it. For example, Sun Well Services pays Floorhands w/out experience $22 an hour. They pay experienced Floorhands or guys who took the class $24 an hour.
4. You learn the lingo and what the job is and you get to do it. Later when you're out drinking, shooting pool, and networking (important) you can talk about things like rod elevators and paraffin build-up intelligently and this will earn you points.
5. The safety certs pump up your resume.


If you want the name of the school PM me. Or use the google machine. It won't be that hard to find from the info I've provided. There are probably other places that do the same thing.


Network

Talk to people. Go to the bars. Play pool. Go to the strip clubs. One of the best ways to expand your options and find jobs.

Just watch your ass because there are plenty of guys who are looking for fights here. Also, 38% of reported rapes are male on male, and apparently where guys get jumped is when they walk out of a bar alone. They wake up in the Walmart parking lot with a sore butt hole if they're lucky. There are one or two young guys who are missing. I see pictures of them up all around town. Find a crew to roll with at night if possible.

If you absolutely want to avoid the bars, just go out during the day and talk to people. I got some leads by talking to guys in the park. If you don't smoke, temporarily taking up smoking might help, because smoking is a great way to open people during the day or at night.


Applying For Jobs

Most places want you to apply online. Some have paper apps though. Some have apps you can print off and then bring in. Apply whatever way they want and then make an appearance at their office.

I've applied a game-mentality to this. Every night I grind out apps online, and then I spend all day beating down doors. I have a few offers now, but until I have the job, I'm still going to keep my options open and keep expanding my options.

An abundance mentality will help keep you positive. There will be jobs that seem like a sure thing and then you'll hear that the hiring guy won't be back around for another two weeks or something wack. Don't get your heart set on any one place. I have a list of 28 companies that I'm looking at, and it's always growing.


Living

Rent is expensive here. It's almost roughly comparable to prices in Manhattan. Look online if you want to get a better idea. The housing situation is getting better but it's still bad.

I've chosen to sleep in my SUV, which I bought to come out here. I have the windows tinted as dark as I can legally for ND – front windows 50%, rear can be anything (I put 5% tint over the factory tint so it's probably 2-3%). People can't see in the back at all, but I can see out. And then I put a curtain up behind the front seats. As long as you don't try to sleep in the Walmart parking lot, you'll be fine. There are security trucks circling the Walmart parking lot 24-7.

I wouldn't bring an RV, as they aren't allowed to park in Williston except for at legal RV parks and campground. Some people get away with it, but you'd be much better off in a van or SUV. That way you can stealthily park almost wherever you want.

Send me a PM you are coming out here for sure and want some pointers on where to park at night, where to shower, and where to get wifi. Or you could figure it out yourself easily enough.

Williston City Council is actively trying to reduce the number of man camps here, but they are still available at some places. Some are just moving their camps outside the city limits, which are ever-expanding.

I'll probably be in a man camp by winter, or I'll buy a big ass van and put an Espar heater in it.


Girls

The saying goes like this: “there are plenty of girls in Williston – one behind every tree.” So, hardly any. Some people say the ratio is like 70-1. Not sure about that. Another phrase you might hear is “Williston 10” which means a 5 anywhere else. I think people who say things like this are exaggerating a bit, but I haven't been doing any approaches here to know for sure. I talked to one chick at the bar and she seemed interested, but I wasn't yet desperate enough. She had some wide shoulders and narrow hips (manly V-taper) and called herself 'the ego killer' so I was pretty turned off.

There are a lot of hookers here. I've been approached by hookers for the first time in my life here.

The best thing to do in my opinion is to find a job with a rotation (x weeks on, x weeks off) and spend your free time elsewhere. It's getting harder to get rotational work, but it's definitely possible. If you want to hold out for a rotational job I think you can find one. The better your qualifications, the more power you'll have over your circumstances.

I'm going to set up a base somewhere else to spend my time off. I'm going to spend my free time recreating and setting up a harem there. I already have a few potential cities in mind.


Attitude

The most important thing.
Come out here and assume it will be hard as fuck. Assume you'll be living in your car for at least a month. Assume you'll get your ass kicked at the bar. Assume that you'll have to work harder than you ever have. Be ready to beat down doors and sell yourself.

When you start on the rig you'll be a worm. You will take a varying degree of shit until you prove yourself. If you get butthurt easily I would figure out a way to get over that problem.

You might get lucky and get a job immediately. You might be in for some hard times while you're looking. One of the kid's in my class hasn't gotten any offers or leads yet and he's acting all sad and shit. This is our first week looking for work.

If you have no mechanical skills and you've never turned a wrench in your life, you're going to have to compensate for that with a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and ability to take shit with a smile.

When you start working, if everyone else has a wrench in their hand but you, you're fucking up. Don't get caught standing around.

Watch what people are doing; ask them about it at an appropriate time. When I had down time in class, I was watching my instructor operate the rig. I asked questions about it later. Operating the rig won't be a part of my job for at least a year probably, but I'm still trying to learn everything I can about it now. If you know a certain tool will be required for the next task, go and grab it if you're not told to be doing something already.

My buddy who got a job the first day impressed the hell out of everyone because he spend the last six months watching every youtube video he could about drilling, well servicing, fracking, etc. He taught himself how all that shit works. And then when he came to turn in an app, he had a great attitude. He was ready to work – mentally and by having his own safety gear with him. Be like him.


Fitness

I would recommend working out as much as you can while you're stacking your money and working on your CDL. Deadlifts, curls, and rows should be a staple of what you're doing in the gym. Two of the guys in my class temporarily fucked up their backs lifting the tubing (200+ pound, 25 foot long pipes we had to drag around). I had no problem because I came in great shape.

I'm sure those guys will adapt, but their lack of fitness just created another unnecessary obstacle for them. They'll be wasting mental energy trying to cope with the physical stress while they could be using to learn and take initiative.

I'm a young guy in good shape, but there are also older guys getting entry level jobs around here. Just try to be in the best shape you can.


Summary (tl;dr)

1. Get a CDL.
2. Watch every youtube video on the subject you can.
3. Figure out your living situation and save enough money to do that for at least 2 months without income.
4. Take a training course or knock out as many safety certs as you can on your own.
5. Grind out apps and beat down doors with an abundance mentality.
6. Network by going out.
7. Take initiative and ask questions.

If you have other skills or qualifications, you might take a slightly different path. But I think this will be helpful for anyone who wants to come here.

Alternatively, you could go to Texas. I've heard it's even easier to find work there. The pay is better here though.

Thanks to Scotian, Ali and all the other oil guys on this forum who have given great info. Thanks to MikeCF for starting this thread. This is going to be my career. I love this shit. You guys have changed my life. Grouphug
07-23-2013 01:19 PM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #153
RE: Move to North Dakota
Glad to hear that you made the move Young TR, best of luck and keep us posted on your progress. Williston sure does sound like a rough spot, dudes getting raped, that's brutal! I'm actually working about 2 hours north of you in another shitty industrial town called Estevan Saskatchewan, its about 10 miles from the US border and is part of the same oil field as Williston, the Bakken.

I must say, I'm not a huge fan of the prairies, flat and boring and I've never seen such strange weather, it'll be sunny in the morning, then a huge rain and lighting storm will pass through, maybe even a tornado or some hail then back to sunny again in the late afternoon. Apparently it gets really, really cold in this part of the world in the winter, hopefully I won't be around by then!

Don’t sweat the petty things, pet the sweaty things.
07-24-2013 09:02 AM
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Young T.R. Offline
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Post: #154
RE: Move to North Dakota
Yeah, we have the same weird weather here. I've heard some bad things about this town but it's mostly been good to me so far. Everyone I've met has been pretty cool and eager to help out a new guy.
07-24-2013 12:56 PM
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Aliblahba Offline
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Post: #155
RE: Move to North Dakota
@Young T.R.- Glad things are working out for you. Keep your eye on the prize and remember you are there to make money and GTFO! Don't get caught up with the oilfield trash, as you'll never get out of there. It can be a vicious cycle.

I threw out my resume a couple months ago but didn't get anything back. The good offers came early on when I was still in Afghan. Halliburton offered $15 hr in an entry level job. GAY! They are one of the worst to work for. Another offered $26 repair xerox machines. Double GAY! No relocation or housing included. WTF are these people thinking? Baker Hughes and Calfrac are two of the better ones to get with.

One of my friends left for a job in Texas, and is happier. The rest of that crew is still up there miserable in lower paying jobs. One friend left a dream job in the OZ to go back to ND. Don't even get me started on that one.

I'll never go up there, but am now rethinking returning offshore. A friend is out now banking 7 bills a day. I'd go back for 4 stacks, with potential to go up to 6 bills. The only real draw is I could be down in the DR every other month. I'm aching to go back to the poosy paradise. Confused
07-25-2013 10:36 AM
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Young T.R. Offline
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Post: #156
RE: Move to North Dakota
I've heard the same things about Halliburton and Baker Hughes out here. I heard Halliburton pays low. The dude at Baker Hughes I talked to said he just started out working in the shop for $60k a year, but that in two or three years he'd be making 200-300k if he stuck with it. Pretty legit.

Once I get some experience, my plan is to go offshore for the exact same reasons. I want to find my poosy paradise and spend 6 months of the year chasing girls and doing whatever the hell else I want. All the guys I've met working out here are pretty cool so far. People say whatever the hell they want. It's refreshing after working in a politically correct retail atmosphere for the past 7 months. I wanted to eat a bullet every god damn day I was in retail. I can see what you mean about a vicious cycle though.

I accepted a job offer and I start my first two week on, one week off rotation on Sunday. I'm going to be a Floorhand on a workover rig and I'll also be driving all kinds of monstrous contraptions out the the work site, including the rig which costs over a million dollars. Should be interesting. I check in at the man camp tomorrow evening.

Went out tonight with some friends and had a great time out at a bar called Cattails (not a strip joint, despite the name). Met some cool people and actually talked to some decent single girls, something I didn't expect in this town.

Closing time is 1 AM though. WTF??? The first couple times I thought they were just doing it because it was a weekday or something, but every time I've gone out they turn on the lights around 1:15 and start telling people to GTFO.

One thing that struck me is that most people at the bar were very considerate and friendly. This bar was the most packed one I've been to yet. Almost any time there was a collision or spilled drink there were handshakes and smiles. There was one fight where someone got knocked out, but I think most people know the reputation of the bars around here and want to avoid trouble and just have a good time.
07-27-2013 02:09 AM
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MikeinMKE Offline
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Post: #157
RE: Move to North Dakota
From here on out, any guy who complaining about the economy or being broke is going to be asked one question, "Are you in North Dakota?" If the answer is no, then you are a beta bitch.

One of the better paragraphs ive ever read.
07-27-2013 11:07 AM
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MikeinMKE Offline
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Post: #158
RE: Move to North Dakota
YTR you mentioned that the cost of living is comparable to that of Manhattan? that sounds ridiculous - I realize it's probably too late in the game but what a wonderful opportunity for real estate contractors developers to put out up apartments for a huge profit
07-27-2013 11:16 AM
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Young T.R. Offline
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Post: #159
RE: Move to North Dakota
One guy I met is renting a 2 bedroom apartment for $3,000 a month. Another is renting a single room in someone's basement for $800 a month. I haven't done too much looking on my own. I just want to work here and live elsewhere.

There are definitely locals who have made lots of money off of this, mainly people who owned real estate and mineral rights before it started. From what I've heard even they left town once they got their money.
07-27-2013 12:19 PM
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Dr. Howard Away
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Post: #160
RE: Move to North Dakota
(07-27-2013 12:19 PM)Young T.R. Wrote:  One guy I met is renting a 2 bedroom apartment for $3,000 a month. Another is renting a single room in someone's basement for $800 a month. I haven't done too much looking on my own. I just want to work here and live elsewhere.

There are definitely locals who have made lots of money off of this, mainly people who owned real estate and mineral rights before it started. From what I've heard even they left town once they got their money.

Yes, on the canadian side I know a girl who was doing health care work in northern alberta pre oil boom and owned a house. She rented out all of the rooms except hers for a while to all dudes...and she was hot...eventually she sold the house for 5x what she bought it for, moved and paid for a downtown condo in some city.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
07-27-2013 12:45 PM
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RXB Offline
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Post: #161
RE: Move to North Dakota
I make pretty decent coin selling porn specifically to the North Dakota region.

Lots of dudes with lots of cash = plenty of buyers.
07-27-2013 12:54 PM
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Pete Offline
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Post: #162
RE: Move to North Dakota
I'll be moving up there on October 1st. Is anyone here still up there?

I'm thinking of buying the ticket to Williston. It's the place I've seen online with the most job openings.
09-17-2014 05:36 PM
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hellacious911 Offline
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Post: #163
RE: Move to North Dakota
Anyone still in the Williston/ND area? Just curious how much things have changed seeing as the thread is a little over one year old.

I make OK money now (22/hr with 35 a night per diem and hotels paid for) climbing cell towers but only working 40-50 hour weeks. While it has been nice taking a break from deployments and being home every weekend, I'd like to change course and try out the oil and gas sector.

I've been reading mixed opinions about working in the Williston or ND area in general though. Some good and some bad. Most of it is dated information though. Can anyone help with more relevant info? I have my resume and applications out there as well as one phone interview with a company called Tradesmen International. Still working through the onboarding process with them. I have a military background outside of cell towers, equipment operation, CDL-A, etc etc but really looking to get on a drilling rig with plenty of OT or something similar. Regardless of whether this company presents an offer letter, I'm pretty set on heading out to ND on or around the 25th.

Anything anyone could add to assist me?
10-08-2014 04:14 PM
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Pete Offline
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Post: #164
RE: Move to North Dakota
(10-08-2014 04:14 PM)hellacious911 Wrote:  Anyone still in the Williston/ND area? Just curious how much things have changed seeing as the thread is a little over one year old.

I make OK money now (22/hr with 35 a night per diem and hotels paid for) climbing cell towers but only working 40-50 hour weeks. While it has been nice taking a break from deployments and being home every weekend, I'd like to change course and try out the oil and gas sector.

I've been reading mixed opinions about working in the Williston or ND area in general though. Some good and some bad. Most of it is dated information though. Can anyone help with more relevant info? I have my resume and applications out there as well as one phone interview with a company called Tradesmen International. Still working through the onboarding process with them. I have a military background outside of cell towers, equipment operation, CDL-A, etc etc but really looking to get on a drilling rig with plenty of OT or something similar. Regardless of whether this company presents an offer letter, I'm pretty set on heading out to ND on or around the 25th.

Anything anyone could add to assist me?

I can't give you any info. as I haven't been there. But I'm flying up there tomorrow and taking a floorhand course at Williston State. Let's see what happens.
10-09-2014 10:30 PM
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hellacious911 Offline
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Post: #165
RE: Move to North Dakota
Thanks Pete. I applied and got hired on with Tradesmen International for an entry level roustabout position. After doing all the new hire paperwork, they were wanting to put me on an assignment working on wind turbines. They haven't given me specifics on it yet but I'm sure it would be similar to what I'm making now. I'm really looking to change careers and just start by getting my foot in the door with oil and gas. I figured a drilling rig or similar, grunt work, would be the best place to start and move up and around from there.

If you don't mind, keep in touch while you're going through the floorhand course? I considered picking it up on my own, but was shooting for a company to cover that cost and save myself the 1-1.5K.

Either way, I plan on leaving Chicago area on the 23rd just to get face time with the companies that are looking for people. I'm sure if I can just get in front of the right people I can land a decent start.
(This post was last modified: 10-10-2014 07:19 PM by hellacious911.)
10-10-2014 07:17 PM
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Post: #166
RE: Move to North Dakota
@hellacious911 Glad to see your approach. This works. Being there, in the middle of everything, will provide huge value.

As you know and many others have mentioned, a lot of the best jobs aren't posted online...and if they are, they are rarely hired via online streams. Being there in person, meeting with folks, showing that you can perform, safely, with a good attitude and are not a loaded, alcoholic idiot goes a long way.
10-10-2014 08:13 PM
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Pete Offline
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Post: #167
RE: Move to North Dakota
(10-10-2014 07:17 PM)hellacious911 Wrote:  Thanks Pete. I applied and got hired on with Tradesmen International for an entry level roustabout position. After doing all the new hire paperwork, they were wanting to put me on an assignment working on wind turbines. They haven't given me specifics on it yet but I'm sure it would be similar to what I'm making now. I'm really looking to change careers and just start by getting my foot in the door with oil and gas. I figured a drilling rig or similar, grunt work, would be the best place to start and move up and around from there.

If you don't mind, keep in touch while you're going through the floorhand course? I considered picking it up on my own, but was shooting for a company to cover that cost and save myself the 1-1.5K.

Either way, I plan on leaving Chicago area on the 23rd just to get face time with the companies that are looking for people. I'm sure if I can just get in front of the right people I can land a decent start.

Sure.

Been here in Williston since yesterday as I lost a flight and had to stay in Minneapolis. So far I like it here. People are good. But there's really nothing to do.

Tomorrow it's my first day on the floorhand course. I'll start applying for jobs this week soon as I get my resume done.
10-12-2014 09:48 AM
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hellacious911 Offline
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Post: #168
RE: Move to North Dakota
Sammy - thanks for the reassurance on going about it this way. Pushing the leave date to the 24th but only because my birthday is next Wednesday and I don't feel its that great of an idea to drive 15 hours with a hangover haha.

Pete - glad to hear you made it. How's the course going so far?

Is anyone concerned about the price of oil affecting the Bakken region very much? I'm curious to see how things will work out in the forseeable future. The price at the pump is nice but hoping that the price of oil + winter doesn't draw down too, too much on work.
10-15-2014 11:11 PM
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Post: #169
RE: Move to North Dakota
My old company Rolfson Oil will take newbies for frac techs or cdl drivers. Also pilot logistics and other similar fuel companies should have the same 0yr exp. Req. for frac fuel hands.
10-19-2014 09:30 AM
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Pete Offline
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Post: #170
RE: Move to North Dakota
(10-15-2014 11:11 PM)hellacious911 Wrote:  Sammy - thanks for the reassurance on going about it this way. Pushing the leave date to the 24th but only because my birthday is next Wednesday and I don't feel its that great of an idea to drive 15 hours with a hangover haha.

Pete - glad to hear you made it. How's the course going so far?

Is anyone concerned about the price of oil affecting the Bakken region very much? I'm curious to see how things will work out in the forseeable future. The price at the pump is nice but hoping that the price of oil + winter doesn't draw down too, too much on work.

It's going good. Just finished my first week. It was all theory and safety stuff. This will be the 2nd and last week and we'll get trained on a rig.

Then it's time to start filling job applications. Banana

(10-19-2014 09:30 AM)Montana Wrote:  My old company Rolfson Oil will take newbies for frac techs or cdl drivers. Also pilot logistics and other similar fuel companies should have the same 0yr exp. Req. for frac fuel hands.

Where can I apply?
10-19-2014 10:33 AM
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Pete Offline
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Post: #171
RE: Move to North Dakota
(10-19-2014 09:30 AM)Montana Wrote:  My old company Rolfson Oil will take newbies for frac techs or cdl drivers. Also pilot logistics and other similar fuel companies should have the same 0yr exp. Req. for frac fuel hands.
I mean, I went to their website but it only list jobs for drivers. Nothing for frac techs or fuelhands.
10-19-2014 11:36 AM
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weambulance Offline
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Post: #172
RE: Move to North Dakota
For the guys who just headed out there, how are things going?

I'm interested because I'm getting ready to pull up stakes, and that's my most likely destination in the next month or so.
11-03-2014 05:33 PM
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Backarch Offline
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Post: #173
RE: Move to North Dakota
I lived in Minot for a year. It wasn't for an oil job but I was amazed at the opportunity there. This could be the last American gold rush. I have a career I love in education but I do wish I had gotten a job just to see what it was like in the fields.
11-06-2014 09:01 PM
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rome26 Offline
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Post: #174
RE: Move to North Dakota
Just landed here in North Dakota. This is my first week with a drilling company. Does anybody have any tips for keeping your face, fingers, and toes from freezing when you are working out here?

Also, while I'm here I'll be trying to network to find out about other job opportunities.
11-17-2014 09:05 PM
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komatiite Offline
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Post: #175
RE: Move to North Dakota
(11-06-2014 09:01 PM)Backarch Wrote:  I lived in Minot for a year. It wasn't for an oil job but I was amazed at the opportunity there. This could be the last American gold rush. I have a career I love in education but I do wish I had gotten a job just to see what it was like in the fields.

I got a feeling the next one is in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming... Look up 'Green River Formation' and you'll see what I mean...
11-17-2014 09:24 PM
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