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Six-City Study Shows Bakken Communities Poised for Growth, But Needs Still Exist

Jan 10, 2017

Cities in North Dakota’s oil-producing counties have added infrastructure to accommodate expected growth as the industry recovers from the downturn in oil prices.  But as drilling and production activity pick up, more growth will strain the ability of cities to keep pace with needs of a growing population.  

That’s the key takeaway from a Six-City Study completed by AE2S Nexus on behalf of the Western Dakota Energy Association. The results of the study, the cost of which was shared by the six cities, were presented to state legislators at the Capitol on January 9, 2017.

The study shows that even at the tail end of a slow-down, an impending and likely oil price recovery will continue to place significant demands on the six cities studied, with each still facing aggressive population growth under a moderate oil price recovery scenario. The cities are expected to see their population grow at rates ranging from 2.8 percent annually in Williston, up to 5.7 percent per year in Watford City.

Past investments by the state and cities in trunk infrastructure such as transportation corridors, water supply, and wastewater treatment have positioned the cities for further growth. And while a moderate oil price recovery is expected to significantly increase city revenues, it will likely not be sufficient to meet the anticipated needs of each city.

Cities in the oil-producing region will remain heavily dependent on major revenue sources such as the gross production tax on oil and local sales taxes to offset projected demands. But funding gaps will remain. 

Further unique financing strategies will be required to meet the projected gap, requiring solutions at both the local and state level in order to address the forecasted needs of each city.

Clear here to view the two-page Executive Summary.

Click here to view the AE2S Nexus presentation.

Click on a city link below to view key findings for each:

Watford City
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