WILLISTON, N.D. – Retired four-star general and former CIA Director David Petraeus toured the Oil Patch on Tuesday and met with local officials at a private event in Williston.
Petraeus, hosted by North Dakota State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, also was expected to attend an event in Bismarck for North Dakota military members.
Petraeus has a tie to the Bakken through private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which is partnering with other investors on a 164-acre housing development in Williston. Petraeus works for KKR as chairman of the KKR Global Institute.
“The energy revolution that North Dakotans are leading has implications for the entire world—from right here in North Dakota to the Midwest to Eurasia,” Petraeus said in a statement. “I am very grateful to have the chance to meet some of the remarkable people who are serving the citizens of North Dakota, and to learn from them about both the opportunities and the challenges here.”
Schmidt said she met Petraeus in December at a state treasurers conference in New York and invited him to North Dakota.
“I invite a lot of people,” Schmidt said. “I was thrilled when I got the phonecall saying he would like to come and spend some time here.”
Petraeus participated in a roundtable meeting in Williston with 15 community leaders and representatives from several of North Dakota’s oil-producing communities.
“He seemed very knowledgeable about what is happening in the Bakken,” Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said.
The group discussed issues such as housing, infrastructure and public safety.
“He understands what it’s going to take to support that industry, the capital that it takes in order to bring in housing and infrastructure and the services that are needed to sustain the oil industry in our part of the country,” said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner of Dickinson.
After visiting Williston, Petraeus traveled to Watford City and then was expected to be in Bismarck on Tuesday night, Schmidt said.
“We are at the epicenter of the North American energy revolution, which has brought us enormous benefits but also our own unique set of challenges, too,” Schmidt said. “We are pleased to welcome a great American leader, General Petraeus, so that he can see and hear firsthand from North Dakotans about what is happening in our great state.”
Jeff Zarling, one of the Williston community members invited to the event, said Petraeus talked about the significance of the Bakken internationally.
“He relayed that we here may not even understand how significant of an impact we’re having on world dynamics when it comes to energy development and the economy,” Zarling said.