Hess 2021Q1 plans include a second drilling rig for Bakken

The global oil producer Hess has announced a $1.9 billion capital and exploratory budget for 2021. $450 million of that has been allocated towards a two rig program for the Bakken where their 2021 plans include drilling 55 wells and bringing online 45 wells. They note that the Bakken wells provide attractive financial returns at today's oil prices.
Updated enrollment projections

Board members for McKenzie County School District #1 received updated enrollment projections for the next 10 years at their recent meeting. Projections are for continued growth, but at a rate slower than the past 10 years of extremely rapid growth.
Spotlighting Career and Tech Education

February is Career and Technical Education month and Watford City High School recently released a video highlighting current career and technical education opportunities. Currently there is coursework offered in Agriculture, Healthcare, Family and Consumer Science, Information Technology, and Business. Work is underway in how to continue to improve the offerings and experience to help students be more informed with their career choices.
Economy at a Glance

The February Economy at a Glance is now available. Some data of note include:

  • McKenzie County's December 2020 unemployment rate decreased to 8.0% from 8.5% in November 2020.

  • Brookledge apartment occupancy rate for February 2021 remained the same at 60% when compared to the January 2021 rate.

  • McKenzie County's monthly oil production for December 2020 came in at approximately 14.8 million barrels, in November 2020 it was approximately 15.1 million barrels.
HERG-Round 2

Restaurants, bars, breweries, cafes and entertainment venues negatively affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for round 2 of the Hospitality Economic Resiliency Grant. Applications are due by February 25. Grant funds are capped at $25,000 per location including any funds awarded during Round 1.

Operation Intern accepting applications

Employers who are looking to hire interns should consider applying for the Operation Intern program administered by the ND Department of Commerce. Operation Intern is a grant program designed to expand the number of internships, work experience and apprenticeship positions with North Dakota employers. The program focuses on creating new internships and apprenticeships within the state’s targeted industries of energy, advanced manufacturing, value-added agriculture, tourism and technology-based businesses, to include cybersecurity. 
New motor vehicle kiosk

There is now another option for getting one's vehicle license tabs renewed in McKenzie County. The North Dakota Department of Transportation has added a MV Express kiosk at the McKenzie County Courthouse. The kiosk is available during business hours of the courthouse and no appointment is needed.
Local author publishes children's book

Sandy Rieker, an Alexander resident, has just published a children's book The Most Unlikely Pair. The book is based on a true story from her homestead between the interactions with a goat and chicken. Illustrations for the book are by Cheryl Brown from Watford City.

The book can be purchased at the Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County gift shop in Watford City (online or in person), and via major online outlets like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
"Your Town" concert at Rough Rider Center

National country-music recording artists Copper Chief and Julia Cole will be coming to Watford City as a part of the ND Country Fest Your Town tour. Additional artists include Breaking Eight and DJ DU. The concert will start at 6pm on Sunday, February 28 at the Rough Rider Center.
Gymnastics meet

Hundreds of gymnasts from throughout the area will be coming to the Rough Rider Center for the Nodak Northern Lights Gymnastics meet. The event will take place March 5-7, 2021.