May 19, 2017

Williston Mayor: “No Longer a Small Town”

A crowd of about 200 people attended the first-ever State of the City address by Williston Mayor Howard Klug.

The mayor told the crowd Williston is “no longer a small town,” that the city is approaching a population of 35,000 people. Klug noted the city’s substantial growth since 2010, a year in which the total value of building permits was just $42 million.

“In the last six or seven years,” Klug said, “our building department has issued permits of over a billion dollars here in the city of Williston.”

Public school enrollment continues to climb with 3,922 students enrolled in grades K-12. That’s up nearly 60 percent since 2010.  Williston State College also set another enrollment record  this spring with 1,168 students.

Click here  to read Renée Jean’s article about the speech in the Williston Herald.
Downtown Williston Re-enters
the Construction Zone

Just when it looked like downtown Williston had emerged from the major construction projects of the past, the city re-enters the downtown construction zone.

It will be a bit of deja vu, mirroring work that occurred last year, since the project is to fix problems city officials have identified with the project, including some badly cracked pavement.

Knife River Corp. is footing the bill for the repair and replacement work to start the end of May. 

Read the full Williston Herald story here.
No Attempt to Override Veto of Township Dollars

North Dakota lawmakers will not return to Bismarck to try to override a veto by Governor Doug Burgum that eliminated $16.1 million in funding for non-oil townships.

"It's not going to happen," Senator Ray Holmberg told The Associated Press. "It would make little sense. I don't think there are the votes."

The funding provision was part of SB 2013, which provided oil impact funding to cities, counties and school districts in western North Dakota.  Each of the 1,600 non-oil producing township would have received $10,000. The townships received similar appropriations in the previous two sessions when North Dakota's revenue picture was much better. 

Click here to read the AP article in the Bismarck Tribune.
Crude-by-Rail Loadings Plummet
with DAPL Startup Imminent 

North Dakota crude-by-rail loadings began the month of May at their lowest point since 2012, as the market prepares for the upcoming startup of Energy Transfer Partners’ 470,000 bbl/day Dakota Access (DAPL) crude pipeline.

For the week ending May 5, loaded crude volumes in North Dakota fell to 130,000 bbl/day, the lowest amount since the week ending June 1, 2012.  Once DAPL is fully operational in June, the local refinery and pipeline takeaway capacity will surpass Bakken production in North Dakota and Montana, thereby eliminating the need for crude shipments by rail from the region.

Click here to read more from Genscape.
Oil Prices Rise After Saudi Arabia
and Russia Reach a Deal

The Energy Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia said that they had "reached an understanding" that it is necessary to keep surplus crude off the market "until March 31, 2018," in order to stabilize a world oil market that is still oversupplied.

Read the Fortune Magazine analysis here.
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OPEC production and activity in the Permian will influence future ND oil production.  OPEC's May meeting will affect Bakken crude oil prices.  

Read more here from North American Shale magazine. 
Positive Factors Converge
to Boost Bakken Oil Activity

It's starting to get busier in the heart of North Dakota's oil country. Counties such as Dunn, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams are seeing more activity, more job openings, and fewer available housing opportunities.  

Industry officials and others say the uptick comes from a bump in crude prices, regulatory certainty with the more drill-friendly Trump administration, better technology, and the prospect of nearly half of the state's crude coursing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, which could open markets abroad where top prices are typically fetched.

James MacPherson's AP story is here.
Member's Voice -- McKenzie County's Economy at a Glance

If it seems like the economy is growing in McKenzie County, that's because it is.  Now it's more than just a visual impression; the county has the numbers to show its growth. Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County Economic Development Coordinator, is releasing monthly "Economy at a Glance" stats for the county and he said the numbers are encouraging. "It's a precise and easy way for people to see what is happening."

Among the highlights in this first report is the unemployment rate of 2.2%. That's the lowest it's been for many months and indicates it is a tight job market. 

Click here to read the full "Member's Voice--McKenzie County" story.

Click  here to see "McKenzie County's Economy at a Glance" chart.
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McKenzie County's search for oil workers is part of a national search for workers. Shale explorers pushing to expand oil production are struggling to find enough fracking crews after thousands of workers were dismissed during the crude rout.

Read more about fracking crew shortages in this article from Bloomberg.

Lignite Research Council Endorses
Three CO2 Capture Projects


Three research projects designed to capture and re-use carbon dioxide received favorable funding recommendations Thursday from the Lignite Research Council.

One of the projects submitted by Expansion Energy proposes to mineralize carbon dioxide with a chemical process that uses a combination of fly ash and methanol. Byproducts could be used for fertilizer, as a construction material or as a component in various electronics.

A project proposed by North American Coal also received the council's endorsement. It would use waste heat and carbon dioxide from a power plant to enhance agricultural production in a greenhouse. Research also includes an open field application of CO2 using a proprietary method.

The third project recommended for funding originated at UND's Institute for Energy Studies. It would use propriety technology to extract rare earth minerals from coal-related feedstocks.

The council's recommendations now go to the ND Industrial Commission which will make the final decision whether to fund the projects. NDIC's next meeting is scheduled June 5 at the State Capitol.

Click here to read more about the three projects. 
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Bismarck, ND

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October 4-5
Raymond Family Community Center
Williston, ND
Oil prices and rig count

May 19, 2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $50.42
                                                   Brent Crude: $53.68
                                                     Natural Gas: $3.26

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 51 (unchg)        5/19/16 -- 26 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs
Western Dakota Energy Association