The cost of drilling an oil well in the Bakken ranges from $6.5 million to $9.6 million with Oasis Petroleum reporting the lowest and Continental Resources reporting the highest costs.
Following a rigorous evaluation in the fall of 2015, Montana State University-Northern was granted continuing accreditation for their nursing programs. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing has granted continuing accreditation to both MSU-Northern’s baccalaureate and associate nursing programs with the next evaluation visit scheduled for the spring of 2021.
Montana City, Montana was ranked as the happiest city in the state by website It reported: “Consistently, the U.S. is outranked by countries like Norway, Denmark, and Belize when it comes to measuring how happy residents are.” They also ranked Montana as the 33rd “hardest working” state, and 31st as the “smartest” state, based upon diplomas held by citizens.
A study conducted by One Montana, identified three Montana cities as good prospective sites for a meat-processing plant – Billings, Butte and Great Falls. The study was a collaborative effort with the Montana Department of Commerce’s Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund. At one time Montana produced more than 1.1 million pounds of beef per year. Due to regulatory environment that squeezed out smaller plants, beef processing came to be concentrated at large facilities, located primarily in the mid-west. As consumer interest has pushed a “buy local” trend, Montana producers have been confronted with the restriction of not being able to label Montana grown beef as such because it is processed outside the state. Beef processed in Montana could get a better return on their product. The study looked for ideal locations based upon proximity to transportation, to water and wastewater disposal, community acceptance, and proximity to feedlots, among others.
As Sears Holdings announced the closing of 10 Sears stores and 68 K Mart stores nationwide, the action impacts only one store in Montana and that’s the K-Mart store in Billings.
Liberty Oilfield Services of Denver has purchased the US assets of Sanjel Corp., which includes trucks and equipment in the Williston, DJ and Powder River Basins. The acquisition price was not disclosed as Calgary-based Sanjel, which has initiated bankruptcy proceeding, agreed to sell fracturing, coiled tubing and cementing assets to Liberty, which said it plans to become the best service company wherever they operate. Sanjel also sold assets to STEP Energy Services, Ltd. (From Oil Patch Hotline, April 6, 2016).
Dean’s Zesty Booch, a bar that serves draft kombucha in flavors from strawberry mint to ginger, opened behind 406 Brewing Company in Bozeman The business is owned by Dean Wakerlin who has been brewing up the drink since 2008. Kumbucha is a mix of sweet tea, fermentation and fruit and herb flavorings combining to create a product that was tart yet effervescent. The industry for the beverage is expected to triple its worth to $1.8 billion worldwide by 2020.
The State Parks Commission approved a land deal to expand Milltown State Park in Missoula at the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. In acquiring a 10 acre parcel the commission will develop access to the rivers for fishing, boat ramp, interactive display, parking lot and other recreation. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
Hess Corporations’ gas processing plant at Tioga, ND has now reached a capacity of processing 250 mmcf a day, and can be expanded to 325 mmcf a day.
NorthWestern Energy officially dedicated its new five-story, $25 million general office building at Park and Main in Butte last week.
Tanner Burgard in Bozeman has launched a new business called “Tour de Foam,” a brewery tour company. Tour de Foam offers rides in a tour van, to and from any of the Gallatin Valley’s breweries.
BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) has named nine safety coordinators in its North Region as Safety Employees of the Year. They were all recognized at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. Brent Michel, conductor and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation - Transportation Division Montana Division safety coordinator, accepted the honor on behalf of his co-workers: Carlson, conductor from Spokane, Wash., Tessa Collins, conductor from Dilworth, Minn., Greg Gordley, conductor from Bellingham, Wash., Kevin Howard, locomotive engineer from Vancouver, Wash., Don Mitchell, locomotive engineer from Seattle, Wash., Seth Nielsen, yardmaster from Vancouver, Wash., Steve Sukut, locomotive engineer from Glasgow, Mont., and Tim Van Overmeiren from Superior, Wis.
Pizza Ranch has opened a new store in Butte at 3541 Harrison Avenue.
The MSU Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies was approved in March by the Montana Board of Regents. Its purpose is to generate research and information on trends in nursing and other health workforces, to improve the national health care delivery system. The center was originally housed at Vanderbilt University but moved to MSU after its director, Peter Buerhaus, accepted a position in the MSU College of Nursing. The center, which is now housed in the MSU College of Nursing, is funded entirely by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The Butte Chamber of Commerce has named Lisa Bracco as their new chamber director.
The Spring 2016 High School Business Challenge concluded last week, with a team from Anaconda High winning. Their final stock price was $120.95/share. In second place was Heritage Christian School with a stock price of $120.15/share. The Montana Chamber Foundation which oversees the popular business game, announced that rounding out the top three spots were teams from Heritage Christian School and Whitefish High, who tied with a final stock price of $115.35/share. All teams start with a stock price of $25/share.
In March, Pollard opened the Copper City Airsoft arena in Butte, a paintball gun supply store and play arena. Copper City Airsoft offers a variety of games, and offers theme nights. Mike and Jennifer Pollard are the young entrepreneurs behind the venture.
The 2,366,057 visitors to Glacier spent almost $200 million within 60 miles of the park in 2015, supporting 3,474 jobs. The most to ever come from Glacier visitors in a single year.

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