Like so many before them, Terra Green and Jeff Williamson came to North Dakota's oil country seeking a better life.
They just came too late.
Itinerant, unskilled workers could as recently as last spring show up in the No. 2 US oil producing state and vie for salaries north of $100,000 per year with guaranteed housing.
Halliburton Co, CalFrac Well Services Ltd and others needed brute labor to help coax oil from the state's Bakken oil formation, considered one of the largest in the world.
Yet the more-than 60% drop in oil prices since last summer has changed that. Extracting oil from the Bakken is now far less profitable.
Some companies in North Dakota are laying off staff and curtailing housing perks. Those still hiring are demanding specialized skills, including tractor-trailer driving licenses, pipeline experience or pump mechanic know-how.
In short, none of the skills Green or Williamson have.
Text: Ernest Scheyder and Andrew Cullen, Reuters
Image: Bazileo Hernandez (left), Jeff Williamson (center) and their friend Terra Green, who went to Williston from the Pacific coast, hoping to find work at the state's Bakken oil formation.
Images courtesy: Reuters