August 18, 2017
Burgum: Technology Key to Bakken’s Future
Governor Doug Burgum says North Dakota oil producers must continue to innovate and improve efficiency to remain competitive in the global oil market.
Burgum made his remarks at the Greater North Dakota Chamber’s annual policy summit Thursday in Bismarck.
In an interview with Scott Hennen on the radio show "What’s On Your Mind," Burgum said the Bakken was the hot commodity a few years ago. But he said that’s no longer the case because shale plays have emerged in other parts of the country. 
Click here to listen to Burgum’s comments.
Burgum said competition in the industry will force North Dakota oil and gas producers to seek new ways to improve efficiency and cut costs.
Click here to listen to Burgum’s comments.
Click here for stories and video about the policy summit from KFYR-TV.
Registration Now Open for WDEA Annual Meeting
Sponsorship Opportunities/Exhibit Space Available

Attendees at this year's annual meeting of the Western Dakota Energy Association will get a heavy dose of energy technology, and the role it will play in the state's future economy.

The meeting will be held November 1-2 at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge in Dickinson. Speakers and panelists will describe ways technology is changing the energy industry, from new fracking techniques and the potential for secondary oil recovery, to advances in coal generation and new uses for coal byproducts. Attendees will also hear a drought report and winter forecast from the state climatologist's office at NDSU, and a panel discussion of K-12 education funding.

The event opens with an evening social and trade show featuring remarks from Lt. Governor Brent Sanford and an update on the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association from Cal Klewin. The social will include entertainment provided by the Jazz Ensemble from Dickinson State University.

The main program Nov. 2 will feature co-keynote addresses by MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox and Dickinson State University President Thomas Mitzel. The event wraps up with remarks from Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms, including his county-by-county production report and thoughts about the industry's future.

Click here for the agenda, registration details and motel information.

Click here for a sponsorship and exhibitor form.
Employment, Enrollment
Up in McKenzie County

The economy is stable in McKenzie County and that should promote a sense of confidence.

That's the assessment of the county's Economic Development Coordinator Daniel Stenberg. "I feel we're in a good place," he said.

Stenberg said there are differences of opinions about the future direction of the county's economy. Some think it will shrink to pre-oil days. Others wonder if the region is on the cusp of a boom such as was seen in 2010 and after. "We won't bet back to 2014 numbers, but we are stable, and there are good things coming," he said.

Stenberg said expansion of the Oasis natural gas plant northeast of Watford City will create about 300 construction jobs. "With our low unemployment rate, that means we'll be drawing in workers from other areas," he said.

The Watford City School District also expects enrollment to grow. A new elementary school and flexibility to handle higher class numbers means growth in enrollment will be accommodated. This is the last year Watford City will be a Class B school. Enrollment increases have boosted the school system into the Class A bracket.

Click here to see McKenzie County's economic growth trends.
Millions for Dickinson, Williston Airports

Williston’s new airport will get another $20 million in federal funds to support its construction, and Dickinson will receive $2 million for a taxiway expansion at its airport.

The money going to Williston is on top of the more than $50 million the airport project has received from the Federal Aviation Administration toward the $240 million project. Dirt work has been continuing throughout the summer, and the terminal site’s preparation is done. City officials hope foundation work can start in September.

The new taxiway in Dickinson represents a small portion of a multiyear, $64 million project to renovate the airport and its runways. The taxiway project is a significant development because it will be built to new standards accommodating larger aircraft and increased traffic.

Read more here about the Dickinson Airport project.

Read more here about the Williston Airport project.
Construction Will Slow Traffic in Dunn County

Traffic on Highways 22 and 200 in Dunn County will be temporarily slowed down at two construction sites next week. 

The ND Department of Transportation said pavement resurfacing will begin Monday on Highway 200 between Dunn Center and Halliday. Speeds will be reduced, and traffic will be down to one lane at times. Flaggers and a pilot car will be used during portions of the project, which is expected to be completed this fall.

Construction is also getting underway on two chip seal projects on Highway 22. The first started today approximately four miles south of Manning to the junction of Hwy 200 at Killdeer. The second chip seal on Hwy 22 will begin 14 miles north of Killdeer and extend to the junction of Hwy 73.
Bowman, Dunn, Slope Counties Declared Storm Disaster Areas

Gov. Doug Burgum declared a severe summer storm disaster for Bowman, Dunn and Slope counties and asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for additional time to request a major disaster declaration.

On July 20-21, a series of severe thunderstorms in western North Dakota produced large hail and winds up to 73 mph, toppling power lines, causing significant damage to farm and ranch buildings, endangering livestock and damaging or destroying equipment.

The storm also caused substantial damage to rural electric cooperatives and compounded problems for farmers and ranchers in Bowman, Dunn and Slope counties, who are already experiencing major losses because of extreme drought conditions. Lightning also sparked a series of wildfires, putting additional stress on volunteer firefighters.

Gov. Burgum's executive order can be viewed here
Drought Meetings Set for Stanley, Beach

Multiple state agencies will provide informational resources for farmers, ranchers and other North Dakotans impacted by extreme drought conditions during town hall meetings next week in Stanley and Beach.

The meeting in Stanley will be held Monday, Aug. 21, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm CDT at the Mountrail County South Complex. The event in Beach will be held Thursday, Aug. 24, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm MDT at the Beach Community Center.

The meetings will be hosted by Gov. Doug Burgum and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. Those attending will have the opportunity to pick up informational resources and ask questions of state officials.
Natural Gas Flaring on the Rise

The volume of gas burned in North Dakota flares reached 222 million cubic feet a day in June, a 31 percent increase from the same month last year.

That's still far lower than the peak in 2014, but environmental critics said the turnaround shows the limits of North Dakota's "industry-friendly" regulations. 

Flaring on the Ft. Berthold Reservation increased for the third consecutive month, raising concerns with state officials. Statewide the gas capture rate was at 91 percent, but only 79 percent on trust lands and 81 percent on fee lands, according to Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources.

Click here for more about Ft. Berthold flaring.

Click here for a story from E&E News about environmentalists' reaction.
UND Gets $2.75 Million for Coal Study

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2.75 million grant to the University of North Dakota to study prospects for recovering rare earth elements (REE) from lignite coal.

REEs are a series of elements found in the Earth’s crust that are essential components of many technologies, including electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care, and national defense.

In addition to producing REEs, the team at UND plans to recover other material from the lignite feedstock to produce one or more value-added products. 

Click here for additional details from the Department of Energy
Petitions Okayed for Commission Recall Effort

Efforts to recall three McKenzie County commissioners progressed last week when Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the sponsoring committee’s petitions.

The Badlands Recall Committee now requires 1,149 signatures to recall commissioners Vawnita Best, Douglas Nordby and Gene Veeder. Commissioner Nordby also currently serves as a member of WDEA's Executive Committee.

Brooks Kummer, who chairs the five-person committee, said the group and its supporters take issue largely with the commissioners’ appointments to vacant county offices and certain decisions like the attempted removal of Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger.

Click here to read more details from the McKenzie County Farmer.
ND Truckers Get Weigh Station Bypass Tool

A program that allows truck drivers to bypass weigh stations has expanded into North Dakota.

The Drivewyze PreClear program allows participants to bypass weigh stations and inspection sites using a smartphone or other mobile device. The program is being run in cooperation with the ND Department of Transportation and ND Highway Patrol.

Truck fleets and drivers who operate safely within legal weight limits and meet the state’s criteria can obtain bypasses through Drivewyze. 

Click here for the story from Today's Trucking.
 Quick Connect

  • US keeps pressure on OPEC with record shale output -- Bloomberg

  • Burgum's rebuilt Water Commission upsets SW North Dakota -- Dickinson Press

  • Op-ed: ND economic forecast sunny with chance of storms -- Inforum
Factoid of the Week

Early settlement in Dakota Territory coincided with the discovery of vast deposits of lignite coal. The mining of lignite began in the early 1870s near the town of Sims in Morton County. Although it's now a ghost town, coal mining and the town's brickyard helped Sims grow to a population of more than 1,000 people. By 1900 the population of western North Dakota, including Ward, Williams, Billings, Stark, Morton, Oliver, Mercer, McLean and Burleigh Counties, exceeded 39,000 inhabitants.   

Upcoming Events
August 21
Stanley ND

August 22

August 23

August 23
Bully Pulpit - Medora

August 24
ND CoalPAC Coal Country Classic Ride

August 24
Beach ND

August 30-31
Grand Williston Hotel

August 31

September 8
ND CoalPAC Sporting Clay Shoot

October 4-5
Raymond Family Community Center - Williston

November 1-2
Oil prices and rig count

August 18, 2017

WTI Crude: $48.65
Brent Crude: $52.82
Natural Gas: $2.90

       North Dakota Active Rigs: 53 (down 4)      8/18/16 -- 33 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs