Tag Archives: Whiting Petroleum in Dickinson North Dakota

My Personal Feelings About Whiting Petroleum Stock Losing 89% Of Its Value

Yesterday evening I learned from MarketWatch.com that in the past twelve months Whiting Petroleum stock lost 89% of its value.  The stock went from about $30 per share down to less than $5 per share in less than a year.

As I describe how I feel about this, and what this means to me, I am going to start out being rational and logical, but then I am going to descend into my hatefulness and desire for revenge.

In Dickinson, North Dakota where I have lived for the past seven years, Whiting Petroleum is one of the largest oil field employers, along with Continental Resources and Marathon Oil.  Back during the North Dakota oil boom from 2007-2015, most people here could not have imagined that Whiting Petroleum would be having financial problems a few years later.

One of the most desirable, sought after jobs by experienced oil field workers, was to be an operator/pumper for Whiting, Continental, or Marathon for several reasons.  Experienced oil field workers knew that the oil boom would eventually be over, and that many oil field jobs would go away, but the oil wells and the oil well pumping units would continue to pump for the next twenty years, and they would require someone to check on them every day.  Also, being an operator/pumper can be nearly a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, with a regular, normal schedule.  It’s not crazy dangerous, or twelve hours per day every day like other jobs in the oil field.

During the North Dakota oil boom, because of the steady, long-term nature of many of the Whiting, Continental, and Marathon jobs, such as operator/pumper, the employees of these companies were able to bring their families to North Dakota and buy a home.  They could almost count on being able to keep their job until retirement in ten, fifteen, or twenty years.

Even though houses that sold for $100,000 prior to the oil boom, suddenly went up to $250,000 due to demand/hype, the Whiting, Continental, and Marathon employees mostly bought houses, brought their families here, and had kind of a normal life, with a steady, regular work schedule, and long-term employment.

Meanwhile, most of the people who came to North Dakota for work during the oil boom, including myself, slept in our vehicles in the WalMart parking lot, the Tiger Truck Stop, Patterson Lake recreation area, under bridges, along the BNSF railroad right-of-way, along ditch banks, and other hiding spots until we got chased away.

There was no homeless shelter in Dickinson.  The trailer parks would not allow travel trailers or RVs that were over ten years old, or truck bed campers like I had.  I had problems finding a place to stay for my first two years in Dickinson, whether it was my truck bed camper, my utility trailer stealth camper, or being a renter in someone else’s home.  There was an extreme shortage of housing, and price-gouging with quadrupled rent.

Some of the worst experiences and worst memories in my entire life were being in Dickinson, North Dakota trying to find a place to stay, and being treated like shit.  I had a nice home that was paid-off back in Idaho, about $10K in the bank, and either a camper on my truck, or my utility trailer that was furnished like a camper, but I was run around in Dickinson and treated like a criminal vagrant, not so much by the Police, as by local people who had housing and new homeowners from Whiting, Continental, and Marathon.

When I went to work for oil field service companies in Dickinson, many times I was installing something for Whiting, Continental, or Marathon at one of their well sites.  Only a few times were oil company representatives nasty or shitty with me on a site location.  However, oil company employees were shitty to me in and around town.

When the oil company employees got off work at about 5:00 p.m., they got in their new company truck, drove back to their house, looked inside their refrigerator, maybe ate dinner at a dinner table with their family, took a shower, and watched television.

Me, I had to drive each of my no-license, drug addict co-workers back to where they lived, return the company truck to the company yard, clean out the trash, get in my truck and drive to the Tiger Truck Stop to sign up on the waiting list, to wait for an hour to take a shower for $8.  Then go back to my truck bed camper that was resting on saw-horses, where the heater was able to keep it at about 50 degrees F inside, if the 15 amp breaker that I shared with someone else wasn’t tripped.

So getting back to Whiting Petroleum, I previously wrote about the announcement that 1/3 of Whiting Petroleum workers were getting laid off from Whiting back in August of 2019.  I was surprised to learn this, because these operator/pumper type jobs were supposed to be long-term, the kind of job that an employee could expect to keep until they retired, the kind of job that would allow you to bring your family to Dickinson and buy a house.

Today, when I read that Whiting Petroleum stock had lost 89% of its value in the past twelve months, that the stock price had fallen from about $30 per share down to as low as $1.81 per share during today’s trading, I knew that this would impact many North Dakotans severely, whether they were employees, former employees, retirees, or investors.

To put this into perspective, if an employee, retiree, or investor owned 10,000 shares of Whiting Petroleum stock, twelve months ago this would have been worth $300,000.  This would be a pretty good nest-egg, retirement fund, or asset.  Picture today, during today’s trading, these same 10,000 shares got down to as low as $18,000.

So, how do I honestly feel about this?  Well, these Whiting Petroleum stocks could go back up in value, some, eventually.  Maybe a larger, wealthier oil company could buy out Whiting Petroleum.  Maybe now is the time to buy a bunch of Whiting Petroleum stock while the price is low.  On the other hand, Whiting Petroleum could go bankrupt.

But part of me feels like, “Ha, ha you motherfuckers, you lose.”  Not only are you Whiting people going to lose your job, or have already lost your job, you lost all of your money in Whiting stocks, and now that you can’t pay for your $250,000 house that you still owe $200,000 on, nobody in Dickinson will pay more than $100,000 for it.  You probably bought a new $70,000 F250 pickup truck too didn’t you.

Yes, I relish the fact that while I was struggling, suffering, and getting treated like shit, all of the people with comfortable jobs and comfortable homes, the security of long-term employment, and smug with their profitable investments, will now have to experience and go through what I went through, maybe even worse.

During the oil boom in North Dakota, most of the people who came here for work could not find or afford normal housing, they especially could not find or afford housing that would allow them to bring the rest of their families here, and have a normal kind of life.

The local Dickinson residents who already had housing, and the oil company employees who had the steady long-term jobs that allowed them to buy a house, they ridiculed, mocked, and disparaged the workers who didn’t have any place to live.  The consensus in Dickinson amongst the people who had homes, was that these people who came here who weren’t home buyers, were vagrants and white trash who should be run out of town.

Now that Whiting Petroleum stock has lost 89% of its value, 1/3 of Whiting Petroleum workers have been laid-off, more Whiting Petroleum employees will probably be laid-off, and many employees, former employees, retirees, and investors have lost so much money in Whiting Petroleum stock, I am happy to see that these people who mocked and looked down on others, will lose their homes, lose their new vehicles, and their families will have to separate, just like the people they had once made fun of and ridiculed.

I Didn’t Know That Whiting Petroleum Stock Dropped 89% In The Past 12 Months

Because there is very little to do in Dickinson, North Dakota, one of the things that I do regularly for entertainment is read the local, U.S., and World news.  You would think that since I spend so much time reading the news, that I would be well-informed, but I’m not.

For my local news, the news affecting Dickinson, I read the Dickinson Press Newspaper online several times a day.  I count on the Dickinson Press to let me know about important news concerning Dickinson, particularly what is happening in the oil field, because this affects me and everyone else in Dickinson.

Recently, when I chose to read the World and U.S. news articles selected for sharing by Google, I found some very important information that I never, ever got from the Dickinson Press Newspaper, any other newspaper in North Dakota, or any television station in North Dakota.  For example, the existence of the Haynes and Boone Oil Industry Reports giving complete up-to-date listings of all the U.S. oil companies and oil field service companies that had filed for bankruptcy.

After quickly looking through the free, online Haynes and Boone Oil Industry Reports, I was able to quickly see which oil companies and oil field service companies operating in North Dakota had filed for bankruptcy.  I didn’t know that Key Energy, Weatherford, and Nuvera had filed for bankruptcy, no one told me.  Does anyone else in Dickinson know?  This is something that the people in Dickinson would need to know, but I never saw it on the television news or read it in any newspaper in North Dakota.

Today, I was looking at the U.S. news articles that Google was sharing, and I saw one titled “Here’s Why Whiting Petroleum’s Stock Plummeted Toward A Record Low”, published by MarketWatch.com on February 12.  If that headline isn’t startling enough, you should see the content of the article.

I will include a link to the full article below, but here are some of the main points of the article from MarketWatch.com:

“Shares of Whiting Petroleum Corp. plunged in volatile trading toward a record low, after a Debtwire report that the oil-and-gas company had engaged with advisers in an effort to find ways to refinance the large amount of debt coming due over the next year.

The stock WLL, -22.37%  lost over half its value (down 51.2%) to an all-time intraday low of $1.81, before paring gains to be down 22% in active afternoon trading. Trading volume was 48 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 10.2 million shares.

In a sign of how rapid the decline and bounce was, the stock was halted for volatility three times on the way down, and twice on the way up.”

When I read this MarketWatch.com article further, I saw something that was even more shocking to me, the Whiting Petroleum stock price had fallen by 89% in the past twelve months, from up around $30 per share to less than $5 per share.  Here is the link to the full article https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-whiting-petroleums-stock-plummeted-toward-a-record-low-2020-02-12

Whiting Petroleum, along with Continental Resources and Marathon Oil, is one of the largest oil field employers in Dickinson and western North Dakota.  This kind of information should probably be headline news in the Dickinson Press Newspaper, but I haven’t seen it.  Maybe the Dickinson Press Newspaper is trying to stay away from this kind of news, because it would cause panic in Dickinson.

For many people in Dickinson, including Whiting Petroleum employees, they may have had a great deal of money in Whiting Petroleum stocks.  Imagine owning 10,000 shares of Whiting Petroleum stock valued at $300,000 less than a year ago, and during trading today this same 10,000 shares of stock sank to as low as $18,000.

I am going to schedule this blog post to be published Thursday morning, but later Thursday or perhaps Friday, I am going to write about my personal feelings concerning this calamity.

Whiting Petroleum Lays Off 254 Workers

Whiting Petroleum, which is based in Denver, Colorado, issued a public statement at the end of July saying that they had just laid off 254 workers, 1/3 of their workforce.

In Dickinson, North Dakota where I have lived for the past six years, the main oil companies operating in this area are Continental Resources, Marathon Oil, Whiting Petroleum, and Hess Corporation.  One of the newspaper articles that I read, said that Whiting Petroleum owned 1,500 oil wells in North Dakota.

To me, the Whiting Petroleum layoffs are funny.  Yes, that’s right, funny.  I have been thinking about the significance and repercussions of these lay offs for most of the day.  What this means, is that you can’t believe, trust, or rely on anything in North Dakota, because everything is based on oil and oil companies.

In this area, working for Whiting Petroleum, was one of the most steady jobs that you could get.  Most of the Whiting Petroleum personnel in Dickinson, to my knowledge, were what is called “pumpers”.  Pumpers are issued a new or almost new full-size, four-wheel-drive, company pickup truck, and they are assigned ten to twenty oil wells which they have to briefly inspect each day.

You don’t get to become a pumper until you are at least thirty years old, most pumpers are over forty years old.  Pumpers are required to have had more than several years of previous oil field work experience, a good work record, a clean driving record, mechanic skills, technical skills, heavy equipment operating experience, and sometimes a commercial driver’s license.

Oil companies look for the most experienced, knowledgeable, skilled, reliable, and trustworthy oil field workers to hire as pumpers.  Pumpers get paid about $65,000 per year, for a ten hour per day, five day work week.

In the oil industry, it is understood that the pumper positions are very long-term, steady employment.  The most experienced, knowledgeable, skilled, and reliable oil field workers, are willing to accept a $65,000 per year pumper job, because the work day is usually only ten hours, and they can be home in time for dinner with their family every evening, and spend weekends with their families.

Most pumpers in Dickinson, due to the oil industry practice of pumper positions being very long-term employment, they brought their families to Dickinson, purchased a home in Dickinson, and purchased a nice new truck from a local dealership.

Once you become a pumper for an oil company, and you are assigned your ten to twenty oil wells which you have to drive to every day, you expect that these ten to twenty oil wells will be operating for the next thirty years, and you will be inspecting these wells until you retire.

These people who got laid off from Whiting Petroleum in Dickinson, most of them probably hadn’t missed a day of work in years, even when they were sick, even when there was a snow storm.  They were very reliable, responsible, and competent in their jobs.  They didn’t do anything wrong, but now they don’t have a job.

If you can’t count on your job at Continental Resources, Marathon Petroleum, Whiting Petroleum, or Hess in North Dakota, what can you count on?  The answer is, nothing.  You can’t count on anything in North Dakota, that’s the whole point.

If Whiting Petroleum is going to lay people off like this, the other oil companies will too.  As it turns out, the oil company workers who thought that they could have a stable life, buy a home, and raise a family in places like Williston and Dickinson, they were duped, tricked, deceived, and misled.  They are being treated no better than migrant, seasonal, laborers by the oil companies.

In western North Dakota, the chambers of commerce, government spokespeople, elected representatives, industry spokespeople, business owners, realtors, want to attract people here with the lure of high paying jobs and supposed good quality of life, but it’s all a lie, you will be mistreated, taken advantage of, and used.