January 5, 2018
Ness: Bakken Ready for Growth in 2018

The president of the ND Petroleum Council expects to see growing interest in the Bakken oil play in the New Year.

Ron Ness, who was interviewed this week on the radio program Energy Matters, said western North Dakota has the infrastructure in place to accommodate industry growth, and he expects oil producers will respond.

Click here to listen to Ness’s comments.

Ness said there will be spinoff from the oil industry’s investment, producing additional economic opportunities in western North Dakota.

Click here to listen to Ness’s comments.

Ness said while communities are poised for growth, the industry will need to make additional investments in infrastructure to keep up with growth in production.

Click here to listen to Ness’s comments.
Energy Matters airs every Tuesday from 3:00–5:00 CST on KFYR and KLTC Radio, and is rebroadcast Saturday on WZFG and KTGO Radio. Click here and advance to the 27:55 mark to listen to the full interview with Ron Ness.
Market Reform Top Priority for Lignite Industry

The president of the Lignite Energy Council says the industry’s top priority in 2018 will be pushing for electricity market reforms that compensate coal generators that provide 24/7 power to the grid.

Jason Bohrer, who was interviewed this week on the radio program Energy Matters, said the market needs to recognize the value of reliability, and provide a mechanism to reward coal-fired electricity producers who keep the lights stay on. But Bohrer says the coal industry must also be prepared to adapt to the future. 

Click here to listen to Bohrer’s comments.

Bohrer said the Trump Administration's effort to roll back excessive regulations has been a welcome change for the coal industry.

Click here to listen to Bohrer’s comments. 

Bohrer sees exciting opportunities for the coal industry. One of those is the possibility to extract rare earth minerals from North Dakota lignite.

Click here to listen to Bohrer’s comments.

Click here and advance to the 3:33 mark to listen to the full Energy Matters interview with Jason Bohrer.
Western Communities See Jump in Sales

With the resurgence in oil activity, communities throughout western North Dakota are also benefitting from growth in sales tax revenue.

Tioga, Williston and New Town saw sales tax revenue increases of around 30 percent in the third quarter of 2017. Among county reports, Dunn County saw a jump of 47 percent, while sales in Burke and Williams County increased more than 29 percent.

The gains are attributable to a big jump in the mining and oil extraction sector. The ND Tax Department reports that sales in that category increased $247 million over the same quarter in 2016, an increase of more than 80 percent. 

“We see a large increase in some of the industries related to oil activity,” said Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. “If energy prices continue to rise, we could feel the impact in other areas as well.”

 As energy production continues to accelerate in North Dakota, most of the other industry sectors see a coinciding boost, Rauschenberger said.

 Click here to download the Tax Department’s Third Quarter Sales Tax Report.
Member's Voice -- Dunn County

Looking back at 2017, Dunn County Auditor Tracey Dolezal takes it back back one year further.

“In 2016, things didn’t look good, so the board set a conservative budget and it turned out good," Dolezal said. "2017 was good and 2018 is very exciting.”  

Dunn County Commission Chairman Reinhard Hauck echoed Dolezal’s optimism. 

“The county got caught up on roads," Hauck said. "We kept our staff, even gave them a little raise and picked up more of their health care costs.”

Click here to read the entire Dunn County Member's Voice column.
Dickinson Commissioner is New Chamber Director

Dickinson City Commissioner Sarah Jennings-Trustem has been named the new executive director of the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

Trustem, who is currently a social studies teacher at Dickinson High School, will start her new job January 15. Her selection concludes a months-long search for a new director.

Trustem said she has long admired the work done by the chamber and served before as a volunteer.

Trustem will continue to serve as a city commissioner. Her elected position does not pose a conflict of interest because the chamber receives no financial support from the City of Dickinson.

Click here to read more from the Dickinson Press.
US Oil & Natural Gas Exports Soar

The United States is quickly becoming a major oil and natural gas exporter since the ban on crude oil exports was lifted in 2015.

Canada and Mexico are purchasing natural gas shipped by pipeline from the United States, and Cheniere Energy is shipping LNG from its export terminal to Europe, Asia and South America.

China has become a regular recipient of U.S. oil and natural gas and in the first ten months of 2017 was the second largest importer of U.S. crude oil. U.S. oil exports totaled $13.5 billion through September 2017, which was already a record high for a year.

In 2011, oil was the nation’s 146th-ranked export. Through September 2017, it ranked 15th.

Click here to read more from the Institute for Energy Research.
Analysts See Steady
Shale Oil Prices in 2018

Analysts have optimistic views of oil prices in 2018, predicting that crude oil prices will remain in the $40-$60 per barrel range thanks to extension of production cuts by OPEC and Russia through the end of the year.

Moody’s Investors Service said in its report that U.S. shale production will continue to increase in 2018. But because demand is increasing and global supplies are declining, prices will remain strong. Abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will also constrain prices, even if demand goes up.

Moody's report is here.

Peak Oil said this week that if shale producers in the Permian and Bakken continue to get $60/bbl or more, and if new technology decreases the cost of production, the United States could "dethrone Russia and Saudi Arabia."

The Peak Oil report is here.
Quick Connect

  • Op-Ed: DAPL is good for economy -- Inforum

  • Cold weather dents Bakken gas production -- Reuters

  • Interior: No more criminalization of incidental bird kills -- Windpower

  • China aims to supersize coal sector through mergers -- Reuters

  • OPEC agreement could end sooner than expected -- Bloomberg
Factoid of the Week

The sun rises due east and sets due west  only around the first day of Spring and the first day of Fall. During the spring and summer months, the sun rises in the east-northeast and sets in the west-northwest. During the fall and winter months, it rises in the east-southeast and sets in the west-southwest.  

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Oil prices and rig count

January 5, 2018

WTI Crude: $61.49
Brent Crude: $67.67
Natural Gas: $2.78

       North Dakota Active Rigs: 54 (up 5)      1/08/2018 -- 39 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Contributor