A private club in North Dakota’s Bakken shale that once charged membership fees as high as $25,000 and served jumbo shrimp cocktail was evicted this month in a sign that oil’s plunge is undercutting the region’s go-go years.The Bakken Club was ordered on Dec. 17 to vacate its premises on Williston’s Main Street after failing to pay rent, state court records show. The club owed $21,598 for rent plus $1,329.90 in late fees, the landlord, On The Spot Development LLC, said in a Nov. 25 complaint. One check bounced.The eviction, in the capital of the oilfield that set off the record surge in U.S. output, comes as a price war casts doubt on the boom’s future. The benchmark for U.S. crude oil fell as low as $52.70 a barrel today, the cheapest since May 2009, from more than $107 in June. Drillers such as Continental Resources Inc., the Bakken pioneer led by billionaire Harold Hamm, are idling rigs and cutting spending.“There is going to be somewhat of a slowdown, it just depends how long oil stays at this level,” Joel Lundeen, the club’s co-owner, said by telephone. “Our plans are to reopen, and we have a couple potential places.”The Bakken Club featured a Tuscan-style menu (linguine pescatore, roasted rack of lamb), a 30-foot hardwood and copper bar, five high-definition TVs, meeting rooms, and an airport shuttle, according to its website. The cheapest membership cost $5,000 with a $250 monthly food minimum, while the highest level commanded $25,000.
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