Running with Oil: Welding for North Dakota oil companies(WDAY TV) - All this week, we have been telling you about life in North Dakota's oil patch. Along with millions of dollars flowing into the state, there are also the headaches of a housing shortage and road damage, but for those who can find a place to sleep, work in the oil fields means dollar signs.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
As part of Forum Communications' "Running with Oil," our story tonight out of Parshall, North Dakota from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand and photographer Chad Nelson.
When sparks fly on the floor in Parshall, North Dakota, it means money. When Joe Watson came to the oil patch to work, he started off as a roustabout, welding for oil companies. Now he welds and supervises his own crew.
“We are on call 24 hours a day for the oil rigs and if they break down at 4 in the morning and they say they need three welders you jump in the truck and get out there.”
Joe has spent time welding for oil companies in other states. Now the Cavalier, North Dakota has returned to his native state.
“I heard a lot about the 80's boom and how it was going good and so it is nice to be a North Dakota boy to come back and get some of the North Dakota money.”
Joe and his crew pre-fab a lot of the pipe here in the shop. Then it is off to the drilling and pumping rigs, which are running around the clock across this part of western North Dakota.
Sure the money is good for those in the oil patch, but there are sacrifices; time away from family and sometimes all night and all day jobs.
“You might be there for a day or 24 hours until you get them going. When they are down they are down.”
Welders can make between 12 and 14 thousand dollars a month.
“It is a good chance to get a hold of some good money.”
With advances in oil extraction, Joe and other oil workers hope, the bust if far off and the oil and money keep flowing.
“When I came out here the company told me, I said how long and they said hopefully forever.”
A hope and dream many are clinging to. North Dakota has now surpassed Oklahoma for the number of oil rigs. That number: 143.