Bakken Conference is a success

Nick Smith

Investors from around the country gathered in Minot last week to learn about the opportunities available in the Williston Basin.

The first annual Bakken Investor Conference was held at the Minot Sleep Inn and Suites.

Dawa Solutions Group President Jeff Zarling said more than 100 people attended the three-day event.

"The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, from participating companies to sponsors to attendees. I think we exceeded all expectations," Zarling said.

EDUCATING INVESTORS

Zarling said there was one main theme that was meant for those participating in the conference.

"Many have commented that you can read all about it, but until you get here and see and feel it, you just don't quite comprehend it," Zarling said.

The conference began last Monday with speeches by Zarling, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Vicky Steiner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.

On Tuesday, attendees heard presentations from Enbridge, Rangeland Energy, Superior Well Service and Annabelle Homes. There was also a presentation on the Western Area Water Supply (WAWS) Project.

Travis Kelley, North Dakota operations manager for Target Logistics, was Tuesday's keynote speaker.

"The Tuesday afternoon panel discussions provided a lot of valuable and useful information to them," Zarling said.

Wednesday's keynote speaker was Kathleen Neset of Neset Consulting.

Zarling said attendees received a great opportunity on Wednesday, touring area sites as part of the Bakken Field Tour.

The Bakken Field Tour included a tour of the Target Logistics Tioga Lodge, a Nabors rig drilling a Brrigham well and other housing and oil-related sites in the Williston area.

Zarling said it was an eye-opener for people from outside the region.

"To see and feel the sheer velocity of what's taking place, you have to experience it firsthand," Zarling said.

LOOKING FORWARD

Zarling said the conference was a great success. He said the conference is likely to become a yearly event in Minot.

"A lot of these investor conferences take place in New York, Denver, Houston, the Gulf Coast. We put this on so that they could witness what's going on in North Dakota," Zarling said.

Zarling said he could easily see the event doubling in size in 2012.

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