The spark that ignited North Dakota's oil boom of 1951 was discovery of oil by Hess Petroleum Corporation on the Clarence Iverson farm, 8 miles south of Tioga. The oil field which grew up around this original site is a small part of the oil bearing region called the Williston Basin, which extends from South Dakota to western Canada, and from central North Dakota to central Montana. Shaped like a giant saucer, this basin rests on pre-cambrian granite, and was filled with porous sandstone which was later overlaid with impervious materials, preventing the escape of possible oil accumulations. The full extent of oil bearing formations in the basin is still unknown.
The Hess Company presently maintains two branches of operations, a natural gas processing plant, and natural gas and crude oil production. With a combined total of over 100 company and contract employees, Hess is a major employer in the area. The company operates and maintains nearly 150 producing wells ranging in depth of production from 8,100' to 14,000'. The Tioga Gas Plant processes a large amount of natural gas and supplies much of North Dakota's propane. With horizontal well drilling technology and the installation of a CO2 line through Tioga, a new and exciting era is beginning in one of the US's major oilfields.