The “man camps” of North Dakota, Texas, and Colorado are turning into ghost towns, Bloomberg reports, as low oil prices shut down an economic boom that brought a massive influx of jobs and a cluster of tough social problems.
“There aren’t going to be any winners down here,” said Jeff Myers, who converted his South Texas hunting camp into rental oilfield housing at the height of the boom, but is now running at 10% occupancy. “Everybody’s going to have to adjust.”
“During the shale boom, some companies were paying as much as $40 million a year to house and feed a group of 1,000 workers, according to worker services company Target Logistics,” Bloomberg reports. “The man camps they built ranged from dozens of RVs neatly lined up on the edge of oil fields to entire communities of mobile homes or manufactured housing thrown up in the middle of the Texas scrub country or North Dakota Great Plains.”
But now, oilfield service companies like Halliburton are looking to cut costs, and the “man camps” are on the target list. “We have an entirely commuter workforce that flies to and from an area,” President Jeff Miller said in February. “They live in our company-paid housing. We’re feeding them 24 hours a day. The cost of all associated services skyrockets as well.”
Halliburton cut 9,000 jobs, 10% of its global work force, between October 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.