We’ve been collecting lots of information about the oil industry in North Dakota. While our research has yielded some incredible insights into the unbelievable situation up there, we are starting to graphically communicate our understanding of the systems. Once we understand and see how these systems work we will be able to look opportunistically for points of intervention.
This series of sketches is starting with an upstream-downstream concept. I’ve noticed how the setup and drilling phases are centered on the mass importation of workers, materials and energy. Once the well is fracked, the process of extraction begins, 10% of the labor force remains, and equipment, energy resources and cash start to flow out of the area. Most of the equipment is fed back into another operation, the oil is sent to refineries via rail (on average 70%) or other methods, and people move to another operation, return to their families, or stake a claim on a new opportunity beyond the Bakken.
In addition to diagramming flows, I explored a way to diagram a design process that moves fluidly between physical and digital processes. This diagram is more accurate in its text than the way in which it is graphically representing the simultaneity of physical and digital working methods. Although this sketch makes the operation an “either, or, both” organization, I believe that we must represent the levels of exploration within certain areas and which are best approached with physical vs. digital methods.