July 21, 2017
NDPC to Weigh in on Possible DAPL Shutdown

A judge deciding whether to temporarily shut down the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline will allow the North Dakota Petroleum Council to weigh in on the case.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg may also allow national energy and manufacturing groups to have a say, though he didn’t immediately rule. The groups maintain their input is vital because none of the parties in a lawsuit over the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois speaks for the general oil industry.

Click here to read more from US News & World Report.

News from the Bakken Conference and Expo

Governor Doug Burgum challenged oil companies working in the Bakken to increase production and decrease spills.

North American Shale story is here.
Amy Dalrymple's story is here.
Click here to see KFYR-TV story of Burgum's address to the conference.

Upbeat atmosphere at the Bakken Expo. More families moving in, more homes being built, more jobs outside of the oil industry, more infrastructure all add up to continued growth in western North Dakota.

Read more here

"Environmental left" is a new force oil companies and pipelines must face when plotting, planning and building structures.  A closer working relationship with Native American tribes has also become increasingly important.

Amy Dalrymple's story on political considerations is here

Missouri River Lakebed Mineral Rights Issue Gets More Study

The North Dakota Industrial Commission took a step this week to resolve a dispute over mineral ownership under the Missouri River.

The NDIC selected Wenck Associates to review a 1950s federal survey as a step to shed light on mineral ownership under the rver.  The 2017 Legislature agreed to spend $800,000 to resolve the dispute over how land under the lake is leased.

Here's the story from the Bismarck Tribune.

Pipeline Approval Process Streamlined

House Republicans passed a measure Wednesday aimed at paring down interagency spats over new pipeline approvals, largely putting decisions in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The bill is called "Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act." It passed the House on a 248-179 vote. The measure would allow smoother approvals for pipeline construction and greater industry certainty, while protecting environmental and community interests. 

Click here to read more.

WDEA Discusses Truck Permit System with Townships

Representatives of WDEA shared information about the North Dakota Uniform County Truck Permitting System (now known as LoadPass Permits) at the Multi-State Township Officers Conference this week in Grand Forks.

HB 1320 enacted by the 2017 ND Legislature requires townships in a county that participates in LoadPass Permits to also participate in the LoadPass permitting system.

WDEA reps Geoff Simon, Janet Sanford and Brent Bogar explained the new law, described how LoadPass Permits works, and discussed plans to enhance the system and offer it to counties outside the oil-producing region.

WDEA has operated the truck permit system since the 1980s when it was started to help counties and townships collect funds to maintain roads damaged by oil industry traffic. Attendees at the conference represented townships in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

WDEA Represented at First-Ever
National Rural Shale Summit

Issues impacting communities in shale oil plays around the country were discussed at the first-ever National Rural Shale Summit in Kansas City this week.

WDEA was represented at the event by Executive Director Geoff Simon and WDEA Vice-President Shawn Kessel, city administrator in Dickinson. In addition to North Dakota, the summit included attendees from Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

A common thread among all those who attended was the challenge of obtaining adequate funding to address industry impacts. Discussion covered topics such as infrastructure, housing, education, emergency services, community relations and environmental activism.

The summit was initiated and organized by Jeff Labenz-Hough, Vice-President of the Eagle Ford Consortium based in Cotulla, TX. A follow-up gathering is expected to be held in the near future.

Legislature’s Interim Committees Set to Gear Up

The ND Legislature’s Management Committee selected more than 50 topics to study during the 2017-18 interim, and lawmakers are about to go to work on the list.

Eleven different committees have scheduled meetings in the next three weeks, including Water Topics and Education Funding committees that will meet next week, and the Energy Development and Transmission Committee which will meet August 1.

All of the first-round committee meetings will be held at the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Click here to view the legislative calendar and links to committee agendas.

State sets record low jobless rate

North Dakota set a new record low for unemployment, and along with Colorado, posted the lowest rate in the nation at 2.3 percent.

The county-by-county breakdown in North Dakota shows the lowest unemployment rates in Hettinger County at 1.2 percent, and Divide County at 1.3 percent. Rolette County had the highest unemployment at 7 percent.

The state's unemployment rate now is lower than it was during the boom years earlier this decade.

Click map to see full version of county-by-county breakdown.

Click here to see the 10-year unemployment rate chart.
Gasoline Prices to Remain Low Thru Summer

In its latest  Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Admininstration forecasts that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.38 per gallon this summer (April through September). If realized, it would be the second-lowest summer average gas price since 2005.

EIA reports that gasoline prices are following Brent rather than WTI prices. It now forecasts  Brent crude oil prices to average $50 per barrel for the summer driving season, down from a projection of $54/bbl in its April outlook. 
Meridian Promises Davis Refinery Will Set
New Standards for Environmental Impact

New technology is the distinguishing difference between the proposed Davis Refinery and existing refineries. It's the technology that is attracting interest to Meridian Energy and its planned refinery near Belfield.

The company promises the environmental impact of the refinery will be a fraction of any refinery on line today.  That's the message Meridian delivered at the Bakken Expo in Bismarck this week. 

The KFYR-TV story is here.

Dave Thompson's story on Prairie Public Radio is here
Regional drought worsens

According to July 17 USDA reports, topsoil moisture was short to very short across 94% of North Dakota, as well as 65% of Montana and virtually all of South Dakota.

The heat and dryness have ravaged crops, with 61% of the spring wheat crop in poor to very poor condition in Montana and 40% in North Dakota.

The North Dakota State Climatologist reported that spotty rains might have been enough to green-up the vegetation, but not enough to increase vegetative volume. Reports from the field include extensive drop damage, livestock water holes drying up, and cattle losing weight due to poor grazing conditions.

Drought Monitor index is here.

Minot Daily News story is here
Tale of Two Oil Provinces -- One Up, One Down

Saskatchewan is experiencing a healthy rebound in oil industry activity this year, while Alberta’s oilpatch continues to struggle as capital and companies move elsewhere.

With a more welcoming business climate with no carbon tax, more efficient regulation and lower royalties, thermal heavy oil projects in Saskatchewan are economic at $45/ bbl, while those in Alberta using identical technology require $55/bbl.

Read the story here from the Financial Post.
Rail inspection doesn't cost, it saves

North Dakota legislative leaders have floated the idea of ending the state's rail inspection program to save money, but at least one statewide elected official says, "not so fast." 

ND Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the state inspection program caught potential derailment danger that would have been otherwise missed. 

Read Renee Jean's Williston Herald story here
North Dakota Petroleum Council Annual Cookfests
More Than 2,000 People at Two Events
Well-fed people mingled and ate their way through the 9th Annual Bakken Rocks Cookfests in Westhope and Medora this week.

NDPC Communications Manager Tessa Sandstrom said some 500-600 people in Westhope sampled the culinary skills of some of the oil companies from the region. They voted for their top People's Choice meal as Murex Oil and Ham's Well Service, which served BBQ ribs.

In Medora about 1,500 finger-licking guests sampled chicken, pork, brats, burgers and brisket, Sandstrom said. The combined efforts of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, Balon Valves and KLJ won the People's Choice award for the full meal servings of brisket, shrimp, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and banana pudding. Voting for Peoples Choice came with a chance to donate to the Westhope School. Guest donations raised $2,000 for playground equipment.

Conversations with cooks (who are also engineers, supervisors and development specialists) indicate the oil industry is strong in North Dakota because of "good production, good wells and good people."

Registration Is Now Open
for Williston Economic Summit

Williston Economic Development is gearing up for its annual Economic Summit Aug. 30-31 at the Grand Williston Hotel.

The two-day event will kick-off with a welcome reception at the Cyndy Aafedt residence followed by a day of informative sessions, a social by the hotel pool and the WED and Small Business Development Center's awards and appreciation dinner Thursday evening.

Click here to see the agenda.

Click here to register online.

 Quick Connect

Factoid of the Week

Oil shale was never buried deeply enough or heated enough to form crude oil. Concentrations of oil are so low that, at most, one barrel of oil can be recovered from 2.4 tons of sand or 1.5 tons of rock. Huge amounts of oil shale are found all over the world. The total global resource is 1,000 times greater than crude oil reserves. But extracting the energy value of oil shale is difficult today. Scientists and engineers continue working on ways to recover oil shale for a reasonable cost.

Source: American Petroleum Institute

Upcoming Events

July 24
ND Oil PAC Dugout Night 

Lignite Energy Council Coal PAC Golf Tournament
Bismarck and Washburn golf courses

August 1
Energy Development and Transmission Committee

August 3
Lignite Research Council

August 8
Interim Taxation Committee

August 24
ND CoalPAC Coal Country Classic Ride

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

July 21,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $45.67
                                                   Brent Crude: $47.96
                                                     Natural Gas: $2.96

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 58 (unchg)        7/21/16 -- 31 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs