August 11, 2017
EPA Chief Says Days of Federal Coercion Are Over

Gov. Doug Burgum is encouraging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to pursue a cooperative approach between the state and federal government on water, agriculture and energy issues.

Pruitt visited North Dakota this week to discuss how federal regulations impact businesses in the state.

In an interview on the radio program, What's on Your Mind, Pruitt said the Trump administration understands American businesses need regulatory certainty.

Click here to listen to Pruitt's comments.

Gov. Burgum said he appreciates Pruitt's plan to restore power to the states.

Click here to listen to Burgum's comments.

Pruitt is the former attorney general for the state of Oklahoma. During his tenure he sued the EPA about a dozen times, including suits on regulations he’s now reviewing including the Clean Power Plan, the “Waters of the U.S.” rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Obama EPA's Clean Power Plan Remains Stalled

A federal court this week extended its freeze of litigation over the Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit instituted a new 60-day abeyance in the legal battle over the EPA regulation, which would require reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.

Read more  here from E&E News.
Gov. Burgum Seeks More Federal Drought Help

Gov. Doug Burgum is seeking a presidential disaster declaration based on severe drought conditions that continue to plague farmers, ranchers and other residents across North Dakota.

Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer pressed the administration to approve Burgum’s request.

Farm and Ranch Guide story is here.
Spotty Rain Does Little to East Drought

Hit-and-miss rainfall throughout the High Plains brought changes in this week’s Drought Monitor to every state.

In east central North Dakota, abnormally dry conditions were expanded because of continued rainfall deficits and reports of crops showing signs of drought stress.

The entire state now has some level of dry/drought depiction. While parts of the state received rainfall, it was typically just enough to “string crops along” and keep drought conditions from causing further deterioration in these areas.

Click here for weekly drought monitor report. 

Hettinger County Residents Want to Stop Cloud Seeding

Hettinger County Commissioners received a petition bearing 600 signatures this week demanding an end to cloud seeding in Slope and Bowman Counties.

Some Hettinger County residents feel the cloud seeding program causes storm systems to dissipate prematurely, creating a negative downwind affect on neighboring counties.

Click here for a story from KX News.
Legislature's Tax Committee Gets to Work

The North Dakota Legislature's Interim Taxation Committee held its initial meeting this week to begin its study of several topics assigned by the 2017 Legislature.

Tops on the list is a study of the property tax system, with emphasis on the state's ongoing effort to deliver property tax reform and relief. The committee study will look at all property classifications and taxing districts, and will include an evaluation of the ways property tax information is provided to taxpayers and opportunities for participation and input in the property tax system.

Also on the committee's list of study topics is a look at how city growth and infill development affects property taxes, and the application of property tax incentives to encourage economic growth.

Click here to see the list of committee assignments.
PSC to Hold Hearing on Transmission Line

The ND Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in Minot next Friday on a proposed transmission line in Ward and McHenry Counties.

Xcel Energy has submitted an application for a permit for a 20.5-mile long, 230 kilovolt line that would connect a new Minot substation (the Magic City substation) to an existing substation near Velva.  Xcel is proposing the line to improve reliability in the city of Minot and surrounding area.

The hearing begins at 11:00 a.m. August 18 at the Sleep Inn, 2400 10th Street SW, in Minot.

Click here for the PSC news release and a map of the proposed line.
ND Petroleum Council Annual Meeting Gears Up

Registration is open for the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The event will be held September 26-28 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

The keynote speaker will be Stephen Moore, senior economic advisor to President Donald Trump. Moore is also chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, and a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and FOX News.

Click here for registration details.

Click here for the agenda.
State Cleaning Up Old Oil Well Sites

Tens of thousands of oil wells have been drilled in North Dakota soil over the past six decades. Many are no longer producing oil, but some are producing something else -- environmental problems.

KX News Reporter Jim Olson looked into one such well that was drilled in McKenzie County back in 1977. The main contaminant is salt water that kills vegetation and can kill aquatic life.

Click here to see Olson's story and video on the clean up effort..

Gasoline Prices Edge Upward

The average price for gasoline is 23 cents higher than this time last year. The increase is attributable to higher demand during the summer travel season, which runs from April to September.

The federal government reported gasoline demand set a record last week and Motor Club AAA  said it expected those pressures to continue.

Crude oil prices remain stuck in a range between the upper $40s and low $50s per barrel, a slight increase from a trading band in the low to mid $40s. Higher oil prices mean higher gasoline prices, though analysts said the rally for oil shouldn't push the price up too much higher given a recent slowdown in exploration and production work in the United States.

Read more from UPI about influences on gasoline prices here

Shale Plays Seeing Steeper Decline Curves

A new report from Horseman Capital Management Ltd. says decline rates in shale plays are becoming steeper than usual because drillers are placing too many wells in close proximity to one another.

The wells then kill pressure in each other, lowering the amount of oil that can be recovered from them.

"New well production is increasingly cannibalizing legacy production," Russell Clark, investment manager at Horseman Capital Management, said. "The decline rate looks to be accelerating." 

Click here for the story from
Bakken Oil Boom Has Boosted Trucking

Improvement in one sector of the economy ultimately leads to boosts in other sectors, either directly or indirectly. This is the case with oil extraction in North Dakota and it has helped drive the growth of trucking services in the region.

North Dakota's oil boom also led to economic growth in other sectors such as real estate, hotels and restaurant, auto sales and others. 

Click  here to read more about how oil activity reverberates through the economy.

There are not enough truck drivers to fill all openings in western North Dakota. One company, Nuverra Environmental Solutions, recently went to a job fair in Duluth to recruit drivers to the Bakken.

Video and story are  here.
Bakken Boosts Marathon Earnings

Marathon Oil Corp. CEO Lee Tillman believes the exploration and production company’s second quarter operational performance was “outstanding.”

Marathon reported production growth in the Bakken, totaling 49,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in comparison to last quarter’s 48,000 boepd. Marathon completed two wells with its enhanced completion design. The average initial production for the first 30 days of the two wells was more than 2,500 boepd, 85 percent of which was oil.

To complete the wells, Marathon used 8 million pounds of proppant, 45-stages with plug n’ perf technology, 215 foot spacing, slickwater and diverter applications.

Click  here to read North American Shale report on Marathon's positive second quarter.
NDLTAP Promotes "Safety Talk"

North Dakota's Local Technical Assistance Program is helping promote safety in the workplace.

Chris Padilla, NDLTAP Technical Outreach Expert, writes a monthly publication called Safety Talk to help people become a "safety guru."  

The publication covers many safety considerations to help develop, enhance and remind workers of key safety protocols. A safety mindset knows no boundary.  It starts at home and carries through to community and work activities.    

Click  here to learn more about the "Safety Talk" program.

Click here to learn why staying hydrated means more than just drinking lots of water .
 Quick Connect

Factoid of the Week

EPA emission regulations have cut the exhaust output of heavy trucks and off-road equipment 95% in the past 20 years. With the clean diesel engines that operate today, it would take 60 trucks to equal the exhaust emissions of one truck from 1988. An average commercial truck uses 20,000 gallons of fuel per year. In comparison, the standard car uses about 500 gallons of fuel per year. 


Upcoming Events

August 22
ND Industrial Commission

August 23
ND Petroleum Council Golf Tournament
Bully Pulpit - Medora

August 24
ND CoalPAC Coal Country Classic Ride

August 30-31
Williston Economic Summit
Grand Williston Hotel

September 8
ND CoalPAC Sporting Clay Shoot

October 4-5
7th Annual Bakken Oil Product & Service Show
Raymond Family Community Center -  Williston
Oil prices and rig count

August 11,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $48.74
                                                   Brent Crude: $51.97
                                                     Natural Gas: $2.98

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 57 (down 1)        8/11/16 -- 33 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs