Shale Boom Causes Hotel Boom and Rail Upgrades

Aug 20, 2012

Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

What’s most visible from America’s shale boom is the increase in domestic oil and gas production and the energy jobs created. But let’s not ignore shale energy’s halo effect--economic benefits that occur because of the boom. Here are some examples.

Hotel construction in North Dakota is thriving [via Mark Perry]:

As recently as four years ago Minot's total number of hotel rooms was less than 1,600. It is now expected to surpass 3,000. The amount of new hotels and rooms is staggering for such a short period of time.

Even with the additional hotel rooms, Minot’s occupancy rate is 88%, much higher than 2012’s forecasted national average of 61.3%.

Move one state to the west and we find Nabors Well Services at MontanaFair on the hunt for truck drivers to move equipment and supplies to oil rigs in North Dakota.

Move a few states to the east, and we see a small town in Western Wisconsin is reaping the benefits from a mine supplying sand to hydraulic fracturing rigs:

Frac sand mining has been good for business at Park Service & Convenience, the only grocery store in Maiden Rock, Wis. The store derives more than 40 percent of its annual revenue from Wisconsin Industrial Sand Co., a nearby mine that produces sand for use in oil and natural gas extraction. Workers buy gasoline, cigarettes, snacks and other items, and the firm purchases fuel and bottled drinks for its 50 employees. "Without that, this business wouldn't be open," said Steve Pomahatch, a part-time employee who recently sold the store after running it for 17 years, adding that mine jobs are vital to sustaining the community of only 120 people. "The frac sand mine is the best thing that's ever happened to this village," he said.

Also in Wisconsin, the railroad, CN will invest $35 million to “upgrade rail and replace railroad ties, repair culverts and bridges” to transport sand to oil and gas rigs in the U.S. and Canada.

[For more on this, see my post on “sand millionaires.”]

These are four examples of how shale energy is creating jobs and improving the economy.

To learn more visit the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Shale Works for US website.

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