2018 OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTANA PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION
Fueling Montana’s economy from the ground up
When resource industries are
prospering, they hire contractors to
build facilities and infrastructure.
And they pay taxes to state and local
governments, which in turn is used
Before a drilling rig can be moved
onto a site, an access road and a
pad must be constructed, meaning
a contractor is hired to excavate,
grade, crush and haul gravel, and
nish the site. Before a pipeline can
laid, a contractor is hired to improve
roads, construct staging areas for
equipment and pipe, and build access
points. Other contractors are
typically hired to excavate and place
pipe, build compressor stations, on-ramps, and related facilities. Oil
companies, service companies, pipeline companies, trucking companies,
equipment dealers and numerous ancillary businesses require
new o ce buildings, new shops, and new parking lots, so they hire
contractors who hire subcontractors, and they all hire workers and
purchase a lot of goods and services.
e most recent “boom” in the Bakken, roughly 5-10 years ago was
a Godsend to many Montana construction rms that were experiencing
widespread downturns in business activity. An economic recession
was hitting most of the state, resulting in dramatic declines in
new construction projects. About the time oil prices slid and drilling
activity fell o , the State’s overall economy was recovering and contractors
went back to a more “business as usual” pace, with many of
them able to work closer to home.
Curiously, with Montana’s economy reportedly now humming
along with record low unemployment, State tax revenues are falling
behind anticipated levels, wreaking havoc on social programs, infrastructure
investments and other important government functions.
Could it have something to do with lower oil production and prices,
lower coal production and prices, and other strains on traditional
natural resource industries? ere must be some correlation.
e Montana Contractors’ Association supports and strives to foster
a diverse, balanced, prosperous economy that recognizes the assets
and attributes of local areas of our vast state. Some areas have
spectacular mountains and pristine trout streams that attract wealthy
tourists and part-time residents. Some areas have large coal reserves,
or deep underground oil reservoirs, or abundant irrigation water, or
high-grade mineral deposits, or productive timberlands.
ere is room under the Big Sky for all of us and all our industries.
To somehow think that some are “better” or more important than
others is arrogant and sel sh.
People in Culbertson, Baker, Colstrip, White Sulphur
Springs, Libby or Whitehall have as much right to make
a living from their resources as people in Craig, Whitefi sh,
or Big Sky do, providing it’s done in a responsible manner.
to build infrastructure.
Todd Klassy | www.toddklassy.com