Reports have been swirling for better than a year now that the South Dakota economy is already being affected by the North Dakota Oil Boom, with people moving into Western SD because there’s little or no housing to be found in North Dakota. And that’s before they’ve drilled a single well in South Dakota.
But rest assured, you can expect those wells will be coming. As noted back in April from South Dakota School and Lands Commissioner Jarrod Johnson:
“This auction was a significant event,” said Commissioner of School and Public Lands Jarrod Johnson. “We leased nearly 67,000 mineral acres at our auction last fall, so to follow that with more than 75,000 acres today is exciting. We are very pleased with the large number of acres leased, and the competitive bidding that many of the tracts received.”
Of course, the explosive growth in North Dakota coupled with increased exploration in South Dakota has not escaped the attention of South Dakota Legislators. As noted in the Rapid City Journal:
A legislative committee studying oil and gas issues will hear from landowners concerned about the impacts of energy development during meetings next week in Buffalo and Bison.
The Oil and Gas Study Interim Committee will meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday in the commons room of the high school in Buffalo. It will meet from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Grand Electric Cooperative in Bison.
The oil and gas boom in North Dakota is already being felt in northwest South Dakota counties, as workers move back and forth through the area. But the effects will multiply if the existing oil and gas fields in northwest South Dakota are expanded and new fields are developed.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has established a task force to look at how such development would affect South Dakota and how best to prepare for it at the state level. The interim committee takes a more specific look at private land impacts and expects to hear from landowners who have already had experience on their property with energy development.
State government preparing for the prosperity as well as the increased infrastructure needs is just good planning in my book.
Ready or not, the oil boom is coming to South Dakota. If it hasn’t gotten here already.