« on: November 25, 2014, 11:54 AM »
An update on ND. The NY Times is recently running pieces(again) on ND, and the horrors, as they hit 1 million barrels per day in production, one of the reasons, along with the Eagle Ford(1.4 millon barrels per day) for lower prices at the pump.
My son went out there Nov 2011, no job, impossible to get a job in Vermont. He couldn't get a messenger job, no joke. Anyway, he slept in my SUV which I gave him, and after being declined job after job, he did day work digging ditches, then landed a job in Walmart. I had been sending him $100 or so per week so he could get gas and food. At Walmart, he started making $1,200 per week working 70+ hours. He met a guy who had a trailer he shared with another guy, a Native American, who also worked at Walmart. The Native American got drunk every night, every night, and my son slept in the living area next to him, on a very uncomfortable convertible couch. It was awful, as the trailer leaked, the electricity was intermittent, and it required 100 lbs of propane every two weeks. I filled once, a real pain taking it to a site and back. Nonetheless, after a month at Walmart, he landed an oil job, then another on his first anniversary, after he paid $4,500 to get a CDL license. Here's his progression:
Level 1 November 2012-April 2013
Level 2- May 2013-November 2013
Level 3- December 2013- April 2014
Level 4- May 2014- current
He's now being considered for a supervisor position, where he'd run his own crew of 12-16 frackers. He's learned diesel mechanics, hydraulics, operations, chemicals, etc. His position comes with 6% fully matched 401k, a million dollar life policy, stock bonuses which doubled at level 3, and will double again at supervisor. Each promotion came with a raise. In addition, he gets $800 per month for housing, but now they provide housing(it's like a prison cell), but he gets to keep the housing stipend, and it's tax free, per diem. He's travelled to Brazil, is going to South Korea, and has used his savings to visit friends and attend weddings in places like Vermont, Cleveland, Denver and Minneapolis. At Cleveland, Denver and Minneapolis, he goes to major league sporting events. He's even found a girlfriend in Denver, as a HS buddy lives there, and he drove there on his week off and back last night, 660 miles each way. Speed limits in Montana are 70 or 75 mph. Costs him $150 round trip vs $600 for a flight.
I no longer ask what he makes, as I am jealous, but at level 3, it was about $100k. With stock bonuses, that goes up, and at supervisor, the stock bonuses could double again. My guess is that his annual grant will be around $20k in stock. He went there as I saw the Halliburton Pres on TV, saying if you move to ND, you could make supervisor in 1.5-2 years and make $150k. That appears dead on. He got in the SUV and took the 2,000 mile drive. It took him 40 days to land a job at Walmart, but probably a week after he applied, after striking out in the oil biz, unwilling to turn around and drive back home, despite my wife's pleadings. He worked nights as it was so cold(minus 31 when I was out there once), and he slept days in the SUV. My son is now 28.
He was a finance major, and did not graduate. He needs 30 credits. Some day, he might get a petroleum engineering degree. But he's saving so much money, with no housing costs, living at the site, minor food costs, healthcare paid for, he's saving 80% of his take home pay, maybe more, then there's the 401k. He works 16 hour days, two weeks on, 1 week off, or 17 weeks off per year. He has little time to spend money. Compare his story to college grads living in their parents' basements.