September 8, 2017
Legislators Hear about Williston Growth

The ND Legislature’s interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee heard six hours of testimony this week detailing the impacts of oil industry expansion on the City of Williston.

The legislative committee is charged with studying oil and gas tax revenue allocations to hub cities and hub city school districts.

Mayor Howard Klug told legislators the city’s footprint has more than tripled since the onset of the oil boom. He said city leaders have invested $283 million since 2006 on major infrastructure projects including a new wastewater facility, a water treatment plant, a law enforcement center, two new fire stations and a landfill expansion project. 

The city also opened a $76 million recreation center in 2014, and completed a new $70 million high school in 2016.

Committee Chairman Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said the improvements were essential to support the oil industry and address quality of life issues for its workers.

“We need to keep it going and we need workforce,” Wardner said. “Hub cities are key to bringing in the families that will provide the workforce.”

Click here to read Renee Jean’s report about the meeting in the Williston Herald.
Trump: North Dakota an "Energy Miracle"

President Donald Trump's visit at the Andeavor refinery in Mandan on Wednesday hit largely on tax reform. He called the current tax code a "waste of time" and "waste of money."

The President took note of North Dakota's "miracle" when industry grows and people are put to work.

"I want all of America to be inspired by what's happened in North Dakota and the North Dakota example," Trump said. "This state is a reminder of what can happen when we promote American jobs instead of obstructing American jobs."

Oil industry officials welcomed the President's comments, especially those supporting energy infrastructure and tax reform.

Click here for reaction to the President's remarks from API President Jack Gerard.

Click here for the full transcript of President Trump's remarks from the Bismarck Tribune.

For Facebook members, this link will show you pictures posted by your friends and others.
KX News complete coverage – more than an hour of video.
Click here for WDAY story.
Key moments from Trump's speech are here.
Legislature's Energy Committee Tours
New Williston High School, WRRF

Members of a legislative interim committee got a firsthand look at Williston’s new high school on Wednesday, as part of their examination of oil tax revenue allocations to Hub Cities.

The new high school opened in 2016 but is already filled to capacity, according to Williston School Superintendent Michael Campbell. He said a total of 1,211 students are enrolled in grades 9-12, up nearly 500 from just 10 years ago.

High School Principal Jason Germundson said the district wanted to build a bigger school to accommodate growth, but was limited by the “Bakken premium,” a reference to the fact construction costs were considerably higher during peak times in the oil industry.

The $70 million high school encompasses 40 acres in the west central part of town, so does have room for future expansion. The former high school building has been converted into Bakken Elementary and is occupied by 5th and 6th grade classes.
Legislators also got a close look at Williston’s new Water Resource Recovery Facility, which treats wastewater generated by the city’s estimated 30,000 residents.

City Administrator Dave Tuan said daily inflows to the plant run as high as 2.5 million gallons, which he said is about the same level as it was at the peak of the oil boom. Tuan said the $105 million plant is designed for growth. It is capable of handling wastewater generated by a population of up to 60,000 people.

Legislators also toured a Williams County oil well pad during their two-day meeting.

The committee plans future meetings in the other Hub Cities. Tentative dates are late October in Dickinson and sometime in December in Minot.
Land Board Awards Grants to Schools

The ND Board of University and School Lands has awarded grants totaling nearly $14 million to 60 public school districts in oil-impacted communities.

The oil impact grants were authorized by HB 1176 enacted by the 2015 Legislature. The legislation appropriated a total of $30 million to schools to help pay for renovation and improvement projects. The amount was adjusted slightly downward because the impact grant "bucket" didn't completely fill due to lower oil prices. A previous $15 million grant round was completed last year.

Grant funds are distributed based on oil and gas gross production tax distribution payments to school districts. Click here to see the list of grant awards.
Urea Project on Tap for WDEA Annual Meeting

Attendees at this year’s annual meeting of the Western Dakota Energy Association will get an overview of the soon-to-be-completed urea project at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah.

Vice President of Marketing and Sales Steven Liebelt is scheduled to explain the value-added energy project at the meeting November 1-2 at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge in Dickinson.

Construction on the $740 million project began in July 2014 and is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2018. Urea is a dry, solid crystalline containing 46% nitrogen that is the most widely traded fertilizer in the world. Production requires anhydrous ammonia and carbon dioxide, both of which are produced at the Synfuels Plant.

Registration for the annual meeting is now open. Click here to register or see the agenda.
Energy Jobs Keep North Dakota Ahead of Other States

A Creighton University report indicates North Dakota's business climate is outpacing other states thanks to job growth in two areas. 

The report released this week indicates that energy and non-manufacturing jobs in North Dakota are driving the business outlook for the state. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index predicts North Dakota's positive growth will continue through the rest of the year.

Click here for the full report with state-by-state breakdown.
Six-Year Study: Technology Boosts Bakken Wells

It's not surprising that newer wells are the better wells, but it may be surprising just how much.

Estimated ultimate recovery by the best Bakken wells are steadily increasing, rising from less than 2 million barrels of oil equivalents (MMBOE) in 2012 to over 4.5 MMBOE in the best well of 2017.

The figures are part of a six-year study of more than 20,000 Bakken wells. Continued improvements in completion techniques have allowed companies to drill increasingly effective wells, which has helped companies better endure the current price downturn.

C lick here for study results and maps from Enercom.
Trump Energy Advisor to Address NDPC Annual Meeting

One of President Donald Trump's top energy advisors will address attendees at this year's annual meeting of the ND Petroleum Council.

Vincent DeVito was appointed Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy by US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. DeVito advises the secretary on all aspects of energy policy to ensure policy coordination among the nine bureaus with energy responsibilities within the department to help advance the Trump Administration’s goal of American energy independence. 

The NDPC annual meeting is Sept. 26-28 in Grand Forks. Click here for more details.
Governor's Workforce Conference Gears Up

Employers, recruiters and headhunters are invited to Fargo, September 22 for the Fifth Annual Governor's Workforce and HR Conference. The emphasis will be on recruiting, retention and legal issues in employment.

Attendees will hear about topics such as leadership, employee attitudes, employee lawsuits against employers, and active threat response.

Click here for an Inforum article about the event.

Click here to register.
Hurricane Harvey Impacts Davis Refinery

Hurricane Harvey happened more than a thousand miles south of the proposed Davis Refinery near Belfield, but it still had an impact on the project.

Days of rainfall and flooding upended life and business in the Houston area. The social cause of the hurricane created a situation where companies had to halt progress while employees, friends and families assisted with the natural disaster.

Meridian CEO William Prentice says progress on the Davis Refinery’s has slowed, but it is inconsequential. In an interview with The Crude Life, Prentice offered some rough timelines on the construction, permitting process and employees expected to work at the Davis Refinery

Click here to listen to The Crude Life interview.
Drought Still Grips North Dakota
The day after President Trump visited North Dakota and mentioned his awareness of the drought in North Dakota, Governor Burgum continued to press the administration for drought relief. 

Burgum first requested relief a month ago, but the request is still pending. 

Drought conditions didn't change much over the past week. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 66 percent of North Dakota in some stage of drought, unchanged over the week. Twenty-one percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, down slightly from 22 percent.
Dry conditions in Montana continue to fuel wildfires that create hazy skies and unhealthy air conditions in North Dakota and other states. Click here for a review of the Montana wildfire situation. 
Click here to see the current national drought map.
Whiting Wraps Up $500 Million Sale in ND

Whiting Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: WLL) announced this week that it closed the previously announced sale of its Fort Berthold Indian Reservation area assets located in Dunn and McLean Counties.

The deal between Whiting and RimRock Oil & Gas Williston LLC was reported to be worth around $500 million, subject to closing and post-closing adjustments. Whiting executives said they’ll use the proceeds from the deal to repay $500 million of its current $550 million bank debt.
Minot Budget Proposal Could Add to Flood Control

Minot City Council President Mark Jantzer says if flood protection is to be a priority in Minot, the city should begin diverting a portion of Minot’s city sales tax toward the cost.

Jantzer’s recommendation proposes shifting portions of the tax that now go to the MAGIC Fund and the Community Facilities Fund to flood control, including a $1 billion flood protection project for the Souris Basin. The project’s first phases are being funded 65 percent by the state, but city sales tax is expected to be a major source of income for the local share of the entire construction.

Click here for Jill Schram's Minot Daily News story.
New Town to Decide Fate of City Sales Tax

Voters in New Town will decide next week whether to approve a city sales tax to fund a new fire station and swimming pool .

Residents will vote Sept. 12 on a Home Rule Charter for the city and a city sales tax to fund the two projects.

A home rule charter would give the city more flexibility in structuring its operation, along with some additional powers and responsibilities.

Read more here from BHG News.
 Quick Connect

  • Bakken crude reaches four-year high on refiner demand -- Platts

  • Davis Refinery to bring jobs, revenue to Billings County -- Dickinson Press

  • MN Governor Dayton urged to approve Enbridge pipeline -- Aitkin News

Factoid of the Week

North Dakota’s tallest buildings are two structures at the Antelope Valley Station coal-fired power plant near Beulah. They stand 361 feet tall, more than 100 feet higher than North Dakota’s Capitol, which is 242 feet high. It is the third-tallest capitol building in the nation.

Source: Fargo Forum
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Oil prices and rig count

September 8, 2017

WTI Crude: $47.56
Brent Crude: $53.74
Natural Gas: $2.89

       North Dakota Active Rigs: 55 (dn 1)      9/1/16 -- 37 rigs
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