Conference Connects Oil Patch With Investors

WILLISTON, N.D. –  A new private equity firm based in Minot aims to create an avenue for people to invest directly in oil and gas activity in western North Dakota.

“People who don’t own land or don’t own minerals have been asking ‘How can we participate in all this economic activity going on?’” said Mark Anderson, president and CEO of Mainstream Investors.

Connecting money with ideas is one of the goals of the Bakken Investor Conference scheduled Wednesday through April 26 in Minot. Anderson is one of the presenters at the conference that is expected to attract 300 to 400 investors from around the country.

Anderson and Mike Donohue, vice president, founded Mainstream Investors last fall to connect people with economic activity in the Bakken.

Although the firm is open to all investors, it primarily focuses on local clients.

“It’s by North Dakotans, for North Dakotans, investing in North Dakota,” Anderson said.

Mainstream buys working interests in producing wells in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. The firm also will finance projects or developments that support or are supported by energy development, Anderson said.

“There are some very grand plans that people have for housing developments but they need capital,” Anderson said. “That’s one of the things that we offer is access to capital.”

Jeff Zarling, president of DAWA Solutions Group, which is organizing the conference, said the event will provide information about high-growth investment opportunities in North Dakota.

“I don’t think people understand these opportunities are there,” Zarling said.

The conference aims to provide investors with the data they need to make decisions, such as population projections from a North Dakota State University professor and a survey of the energy industry from the chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute.

The opportunities are targeted at accredited investors, or investors who have a net worth of $1 million, not including their home, or earn $200,000 a year.

The conference also features real estate presentations and information about how to finance projects in the Bakken and get the attention of Wall Street investors.

Last year, the conference attracted more than 250 participants from 30 states. This year the event has even stronger interest, including people from other countries, Zarling said.

“They’re coming from all over looking at what’s going on in North Dakota,” Zarling said.

Cost for the conference, held at the Sleep Inn, is $850 for registrations received by Wednesday. For a complete schedule and registration information, visit