The first signs of what was to come emerged in 2006 with news from neighboring Montana of a successful oil project. A short while later, the land men began showing up at local county courthouses. They’d dig up the identities of mineral rights owners in the area, and strike lease deals with them for the exploration companies. The numbers were small at first, and the drilling activity was slow. No one got too excited. Most of the folks in North Dakota’s Bakken oil region had seen spikes in activity and predictions of life-changing production levels before. Booms in the 1950s...
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John R. Engen is a freelance writer and a contributor to Bank Director magazine.