December 8, 2017
WDEA Approves New LoadPass Permits
Operators in the oilfield trucking industry will have more permit options in the near future, aimed at facilitating the movement of oversize loads in the oil-producing region of North Dakota.
WDEA’s Executive Committee voted yesterday to add several new permits to its LoadPass system, including one that will allow oilfield truckers to move heavier loads during the winter months. In addition, the board approved a harvest permit that will allow ag producers to haul 10% heavier loads during harvest season.
The Executive Committee also voted to make a rig move permit valid for five days instead of the current three days, and approved an annual county overwidth permit for loads up to 12 feet wide. WDEA also approved an option for counties to issue a permit to individual trucks when spring frost law weight limits are in effect. The frost law permit would allow trucks to carry up to seven tons per axle instead of the six-ton limit imposed on some county and township roads during frost law season.
The new permit options will become available over the next several weeks as changes are incorporated into the online LoadPass system.
Click here for additional details about the new permits.
WDEA Developing Multi-County GPT Data

The Western Dakota Energy Association is partnering with North Dakota’s four highest oil-producing counties to gather information about historical oil industry cost impacts in the counties, and to develop projections to determine what future costs might be.

The ND Legislature is currently engaged in an interim study of the distribution of gross production tax revenue (GPT) to the hub cities of Williston, Dickinson and Minot, as well as examining education funding issues related to distribution of revenue in lieu of property taxes (which includes GPT dollars).

WDEA President Shawn Kessel said because the legislature may recommend changes that affect distribution of GPT revenue to cities and school districts, the association felt it was important to get a handle on costs incurred at the county level as well.

“We’re looking at several broad areas to capture historical and future costs to counties that include roads and bridges, public safety and corrections, emergency services, and planning and zoning,” Kessel said.

Included in the study are Dunn, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams Counties. Results of the data gathering project will be presented at a future meeting of the legislature’s interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee.
Industrial Comm. OKs New Royalty Rules
North Dakota oil producers will soon be required to provide greater detail about deductions that are taken when issuing payments to royalty owners.
The ND Industrial Commission approved new rules this week developed by the state Department of Mineral Resources. The regulations will require deductions from royalties to be described in one of four categories – transportation, processing, compression or administrative costs.
DMR Director Lynn Helms said implementation of the rules will be expensive, but the new requirements should allow royalty owners to figure out what’s being deducted. Helms said the new rules are “completely appropriate,” considering the state’s oil producers distribute about $8 million in royalty payments every day.
The regulations have a July 1, 2019 effective date, giving producers time to implement them. But Gov. Doug Burgum suggested the industry may want to be proactive to get changes in place prior to the start of the next legislative session in January 2019. 

Click here to view the regulations.

Click here for an article from the Bismarck Tribune.
Sen. Unruh Talks Coal at White House
State Senator Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah, made quite an impression on President Donald Trump this week, presenting the Commander in Chief with a cap touting the coal industry.
Unruh and her family were invited to the White House to talk about tax reform with the President. She took advantage of the opportunity giving Mr. Trump a cap with the slogan “Make Coal Great Again.”

Click here to listen to Unruh’s comments.
Unruh says she told the President that North Dakota is not looking for handouts in the tax reform bill. She said the state just wants a level playing field in which everyone pays their fair share.
Click here to listen to Unruh’s comments.
Unruh made her comments on the radio program Energy Matters, which airs every Tuesday from 3:00–5:00 CST on KFYR and KLTC Radio. It is rebroadcast Saturday on WZFG and KTGO Radio.
State Issues Draft Permit for Davis Refinery

The North Dakota Department of Health's Air Quality Division has issued its Draft Permit to Construct for the Davis Refinery.

The permit is the last step toward issuance of a Permit to Construct. Release of the draft starts the process of public comment for 45 days. A public information meeting and public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Jan. 17 in the Dorothy Stickney Auditorium, May Hall, Dickinson State University. If Meridian gets its final permit, the company plans to begin grading the site this winter.

Click here for the Associated Press story.

The ND Public Service Commission has also announced it will meet Dec. 19 with Meridian Energy to learn about the refinery project. It's an information-gathering session only.
Judge Rules Energy Transfer Partners
Must Have DAPL Response Plan

A federal judge has ruled Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) must put together an oil-spill response plan for the Dakota Access Pipeline by next April. 

Judge James Boasberg ruled ETP must also submit bi-monthly reports on safety conditions at the Lake Oahe pipeline crossing. In his ruling, Judge Boasberg noted the South Dakota pipeline spill in November was part of his reasoning. 

"Recent events have made clear, moreover, that there is a pressing need for such ongoing monitoring. Earlier this month, the Keystone Pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in Marshall County, South Dakota," Boasberg wrote.

The spill occurred near the boundaries of the Lake Traverse Reservation, home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe, thus highlighting the potential impact of pipeline incidents on tribal lands.

Click here to read the judge's ruling.
State Awards Energy Impact Grants to Airports

North Dakota airports were awared more than $21 million in energy impact grants this week. 

Williston received the largest award - $18.5 million, while the City of Dickinson received $1,402,065.

Other airports receiving energy impact grants include Mohall, Stanley, Tioga and Watford City.

Click here for the ND Trust Lands report.

Click here for Dickinson Press story.
NDDOT Launches Drive Sober Campaign

The ND Department of Transportation is launching an ad campaign featuring a young man whose decision to drive drunk caused the deaths of three of his best friends.

That fatal crash occurred on October 29, 2011 in Mandan. Taylor Berhow was the drunk driver, and not only lost three of his friends, but was convicted of manslaughter. Taylor was just 23 years old and had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.

Today, he speaks to groups around the state, including high school students, about everything he’s facing and the decisions that led him to this point, hoping to deter as many people as possible from making the same bad choices he did.

Click here to see the DOT ad with Taylor Berhow.

Click here to read Taylor's story.

Click here to read DOT's news release.
Quick Connect

  • The work of returning soil to production after a spill -- Farm Forum

  • Coal CEO: Senate tax bill "wipes us out" -- CNN Money

  • Land use plan workshop held in Minot - KFYR TV
Factoid of the Week

Rural North Dakota represents 39.4 percent of the state’s total population. In South Dakota, 42.9 percent of the population is rural. Maine and Vermont are tied for the highest rural population in the nation at just over 61 percent.

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Oil prices and rig count

December 8, 2017

WTI Crude: $57.44
Brent Crude: $63.37
Natural Gas: $2.77

       North Dakota Active Rigs: 53 (dn 1)      12/1/16 -- 40 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs