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Associated Press, Published February 02 2012

Annual ND oil conference draws big registration crowd

BISMARCK (AP) — Officials say booth space for an annual conference in North Dakota oil country went quickly after registration opened Wednesday morning.

The 20th annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference and Expo is scheduled May 22-24 in Bismarck. Officials are expecting at least 3,500 people at this year's event.

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, says there were 650 people waiting when the website registration went online at 9 a.m. Ness says all 300 available booths were spoken for within 17 minutes.

Ness says participants in the event include industry experts, geologists, engineers, executives, investment bankers, builders, manufacturers and vendors.

The Bakken shale formation encompasses some 25,000 square miles within North Dakota and Montana.

Says Ness about the expo, "This is the place where the Bakken players come."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.