Schweitzer, speaking at a conference at Highlands College on Friday, focused his talk on the demand for solid Main Street businesses in that area.
The conference, called “Tapping Opportunity in the Bakken,” highlighted the status of the Bakken oil field and the challenges of doing business in the area. Schweitzer joined a host of speakers.
Schweitzer’s speech was full of his usual humor — “Why would you call something good a frack?” he asked, regarding the controversial method of extracting oil and gas that he supports.
A soil scientist, Schweitzer told the audience that one doesn’t have to be in the oil business to profit off of the boom in Eastern Montana. There are many other demands — with infrastructure like sewers and roads in need for repair, a desperate shortage of housing and visitors’ accommodations and the need for other basic necessities like transportation and food.
“If you know anything about anything … if you’re good at it, you’ll make money in the Bakken,” he said.
He pointed out that oil companies in the Bakken spend $750 million a year on sand alone for their fracking operations. At the selling rate of $80 to $160 a ton, people – Montanans –could make money simply by selling sand, he said.
He also said with issues over water rights, it’s “going to take a bunch of lawyers out there to get it sorted out.”
He said the Bakken is not going to be a boom-bust region, but will continue to thrive.
“Whatever you study, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “If you go to the Bakken, you’re going to hit home runs.”