North Dakota: Kuwait on the Prairie

Do you see that patch of light in North Dakota?

Do you see that patch of light in North Dakota?

Robert Krulwich wonders: what’s up with all that light seen in North Dakota in a recent nighttime image of the United States? Turns out there is no big city there. That light pollution is coming from nighttime evidence of an oil boom created by fracking. Those lights are rigs, hundreds of them, lit at night, or fiery flares of natural gas. One hundred oil companies are set up in this region known as the Bakken formation.

This oil rush is so sudden, so enormous, North Dakota now has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. More than 41,000 workers got jobs there between 2008 and 2012. Only seven years ago, the U.S. was importing 60 percent of its oil. Now imports are down to 42 percent. The Bakken fields are helping to improve energy security.

See the post for more images and great videos.

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