Billings Gazette
Billings Gazette, Mont., Jan Falstad column

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oct. 28--The Bakken shale oil boom in western North Dakota and Eastern Montana could help make the United States the top oil-producing nation in the world, surpassing even Russia, in second place now, and the current leader, Saudi Arabia.

But with great growth comes great change to the people and the land, even some strange-sounding proposals.

In the "I kid you not" category, an Atlanta company wants to spend $150 million on a pyramid that would become the state's tallest building near Williston, N.D., to house 500 people, a shopping mall and entertainment center. The graphic by Camp & Associates shows its proposed pyramid topping out at 371 feet, compared to the State Capitol in Bismarck, which is nearly 242 feet tall.

The Georgia company calls its project, well outside of Williston and therefore distant from already strained public services, the "New Cimarron City." That's a decidedly Oklahoman name for North Dakota, a state settled by Scandinavians and Germans.

Of course, the original housing on the prairies was the functional and beautiful Native American tepees.

Some locals have dubbed the Atlanta idea a pyramid scheme to build a pyramid.

Almost everyone is predicting this one will last two or three decades. BENTEK Energy is forecasting that onshore crude oil production will jump 74 percent in a decade.

But prices for West Texas Intermediate crude fell about 15 percent over the last 30 days and closed the week around $88 per barrel.

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