Oil and gas-related jobs are found in the northwest corner of North Dakota. The geographic drilling area is known as the Bakken Formation, which is part of the larger Williston Basin. The basin straddles North Dakota, northeast Montana and the southern part of Canada's Saskatchewan Province.
The Bakken Shale oilfield produced up to 1.2 million barrels a day in October 2014. Crude oil prices began declining in the second half of 2014, and production levels in North Dakota began to taper in February 2015. Worldwide crude oil inventories were at their highest level in over 80 years at that time.
North Dakota is second to Texas for active oil rigs and production in North America, and is noted to be one of the largest in the world. Additional drilling sites are found in 24 states, from New York to California. The boom in North Dakota began in 2009 and caused the population of the town of Williston to triple in less than 10 years. However, jobs and economic development related to the boom are projected to continue slowing down for the first half of 2015.
Average salary for entry-level exploration and production jobs was nearly $80,000 prior to 2015, according to several employment websites specializing in this field.