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Alaska News

Booming Bakken oil patch gets 'Fail of the day' Facebook page

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published September 1, 2012

Anyone who was around for Alaska's wild and woolly oil boom in the 1970s and early '80s is probably extra relieved smartphones with high-resolution cameras hadn't been invented yet. Think of all the embarassing photos!

During an oil boom, chaos can reign. People from all over creation come to move heavy equipment, drive trucks, lay pipe, spray water, build roads and pads, and eventually turn bits. Amid all that hustle and bustle, crazy things can happen.

A geologic formation called the Bakken Shale is the cause of a brand-new North American oil boom. Its epicenter is in North Dakota, and luckily for everyone now, the Internet exists and practically everyone has a smartphone.

A Facebook page called "Bakken Oilfield, Fail of the Day" has sprung up to document the madness from the front lines of an Internet-age resource rush going full bore. As of this writing, the page has more than 14,000 fans.

The page is oriented toward locals and people connected tightly (or by shift-work every few weeks) to the North Dakota boom, but anyone who has had to work on tight deadlines around big equipment will appreciate what users post. As will anyone who enjoys laughing at other people's misfortune, narrow escapes, kludges and/or rookie mistakes.

Many of the images show tractor-trailers in various states of "stuck," but there are plenty of other gems. One recently posted image shows a workman trying to fill a water-spraying tanker truck ... while the top valve is wide open. A short video post shows surveillance camera footage of a semi truck completely erasing a fuel pump island.

The page features images of all sorts of smashed rigs, cracked drill pipes, smoke plumes, gas flares gone wrong, and local news links reporting things like mancamp shootings, rig blowouts and train wrecks. But members also post questions about how bad the traffic is and complain about things like boom-time outsiders and how outrageous it is for a hotel to ask $699 for a week's stay.

Behold "Bakken Oilfield, Fail of the Day," here.

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