July 14, 2017
Truck Permit Enhancements to Move Forward

WDEA's Uniform Truck Permit Advisory Committee voted unanimously this week to proceed with efforts to enhance and expand LoadPass Permits, the association's oversize truck management system.

LoadPass Permits helps regulate the movement of overweight and overlength trucks on county, city and township roads in North Dakota’s oil-producing counties. 

Currently users of the permit system are required to enter the route for the trip they plan to make, specifying each road segment they will follow.  Phase 1 of the enhancement project will simplify that task with a computer program that automatically chooses a preferred route from starting point to destination. Phase 2 will incorporate additional details about load limits, bridge widths and other road restrictions to further automate the selection of the most appropriate route.

Estimated costs for developing Phase 1 of the project range from $160,000-180,000. The advisory committee approved a temporary surcharge of 2.5% of fee revenue collected by participating members of the LoadPass Permits system.
Facebook Founder Visits Bakken Oil Field

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg toured a North Dakota drilling rig on Tuesday and peppered industry workers with questions about technology, automation, safety and fracking.

The visit is part of Zuckerberg's plan to tour all 50 states this year to learn about local economies and communities.

While Zuckerberg, 33, is a vocal supporter of renewable energy development, he said the visit gave him an opportunity to meet with those who rely on oil and natural gas production for their livelihood.

Zuckerberg's Facebook comments on his tour are  here and here.

Click here to read Williston Herald op-ed on Zuckerberg visit.

Click here to read Forum News story in Bismarck Tribune.
Wind and Drought Feed Magpie Fire

Community and county volunteer fire departments worked alongside Forest Service firefighters to stop a wildfire threatening dozens of oil sites in McKenzie and Billings County.  

The Magpie fire gobbled up more than 5,000 acres of trees and grassland as it swept across McKenzie and Billings Counties.  Several well pads are in region, so companies posted crews with water trucks at the well sites.

In addition to firefighters, local businesses and community members have volunteered to haul water to the remote area, keep trucks fueled and assist with road grading equipment.

Summary of fire details are here . 
Severe Drought Now Affects Majority of ND

Areas of severe and extreme drought expanded this past week as excessive heat depleted soil moisture and further stressed rain-starved crops, pastures and rangelands, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

In North Dakota, extreme drought conditions increased from 30 percent to nearly 36 percent of the state the past week. More than half of North Dakota now lies within an area of severe drought. Such conditions have resulted in small grain crop failures as well as reports of producers selling off livestock.

Click here to view North Dakota drought monitor.

Click here to read Bismarck Tribune article.
Parshall Citizens to Vote on School Project

Residents of Parshall will head to the polls August 22 to decide the fate of a proposed $5.4 million school construction project.

The two existing school buildings are badly in need of repair, according to Parshall Superintendent Beth Schwarz. She said settling has produced major cracks in walls and foundations, which would cost $6.8 million to fix.

Building a new school to house all students would actually be cheaper than repairing existing buildings, Schwarz said. That's because Parshall, which sits on the Fort Berthold Reservation, would receive financial help to the tune of $9 million from the Three Affiliated Tribes.

Click here to view a report from KX Newsman Jim Olson.

Click here to read more details about the vote. 
Driver Shortage Limits Oil Expansion in Bakken

A shortage of workers has meant companies are not getting as much oil out of the ground as they want in North Dakota.

“You’ll see close to 200 frack crew jobs listed for North Dakota,” said Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms at a press conference last month. “The rigs are outrunning the frack crews.”

Cindy Sanford, Job Service manager in Williston, said there are about as many job openings in the Bakken oilfield now as there were during the real boom times of five or so years ago.

High wages do not seem to attract drivers who are also expected to put in a fair amount of manual labor. Annual wages for drivers can be $80,000 or more per year.

Inside Energy story is here

David Refinery May Receive Water Allocation

Meridian Energy Group has received a recommendation from the North Dakota State Engineer’s Office that will allow it to draw 580 acre feet of water per year from the Dakota Aquifer for use at its proposed Davis Refinery near Belfield.

Company officials said drawing water from the aquifer would not compete with the needs of farmers and ranchers in the area. Meridian would pump the water from a depth of 5,700 feet at the refinery location. The company said the briny water will need to be treated for use in the refinery, most likely using a reverse osmosis process.

This decision marks the latest hurdle cleared by Meridian in the permitting process for the Davis Refinery, which involves two possible phases. Phase 1, “Davis Light”, would process about 27,500 bpd, and a Phase 2, “Davis Full,” would double that capacity to 55,000 bpd.

Click here to read the news release from Meridian.
Xcel Energy: Wind Will Be Biggest Resource

By 2021, Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke expects wind to be his company's single largest energy resource.

Last week, Minnesota regulators approved a portion of Xcel’s wind energy expansion in the upper Midwest, a total of 1.55 GW of wind in a region that includes North Dakota. It's part of a larger Xcel initiative to add more than 3 GW of wind across its service areas in the coming years.
“We already provide 6,700 MW of wind,” Fowke said. “This (additional) 3.4 GW ... is going to have us at 35% of our energy mix with wind.”

By 2021, the utility expects wind will be its largest energy source, not in terms of capacity, but actual generation.

Read more on Xcel's plans in this article from Utility Dive.
Halcón to Sell Its North Dakota Operations

Shale oil producer Halcón Resources Corporation said on Tuesday it would sell most of its North Dakota operations for $1.4 billion cash, part of a plan to shift its focus to the Permian Basin in Texas. 

The assets are being sold to an affiliate of Bruin E&P Partners, a portfolio company of Arclight Capital Partners. Current production associated with the assets being sold is approximately 29,000 boe/d, net.  The company said it will retain its non-operated Williston Basin assets, though it may monetize those assets in the future.

Halcón CEO Floyd Wilson said, "The sale of our Williston Basin operated assets transforms Halcón into a single-basin company focused on the Delaware Basin where we have more than 41,000 net acres in Ward and Pecos Counties representing decades of highly economic drilling inventory."

The Halcón news release is here.
NDACo Features Recent Retirees 

Long-time western county leaders Linda Svihovec and Scott Busching are featured in the just-published July/August edition of North Dakota County News.

Svihovec retired in June as McKenzie County Auditor/Treasurer, a position she held for 22 years. Busching retired July 1 as Williams County Sheriff, wrapping up a 40-year career in law enforcement. 

North Dakota County News is published by the ND Association of Counties.

Click here to view the current edition. The retiree article appears on p. 7.
Bakken Rocks Cookfest Fires Up
Next Week in Westhope, Medora

The 9th Annual Bakken Rocks CookFests will be held next week, Tuesday, July 18 in Westhope, and Thursday, July 20, in Medora.

Tessa Sandstrom, Director of Communications for the ND Petroleum Council, said the cookfests are a great opportunity for networking with people in the oil industry. During an interview this week on Energy Matters, Sandstrom said people can also learn more about the industry from presentations during the program.

Click here to listen to Sandstrom's comments.

The annual event is free and open to the public.  Companies participating in the cookoff are:
  • Baker Hughes
  • ConocoPhillips & ONEOK
  • Continental Resources – Elite Power
  • Crescent Point & Wyoming Casing
  • Enerplus & Jacam
  • Eagle Operating & Nabors Drilling
  • Enduro Operating & Balon Valves
  • Go Wireline
  • Hess & MBI Energy Services
  • Hunt Oil & Fortis Energy Services
  • Kaiser Francis & Balon Valves
  • Marathon & Weatherford
  • Murex Petroleum & Ham’s Well Service
  • NP Resources & Wyoming Casing
  • Nuverra Power Fuels – Bruins
  • Petro-Hunt – Halliburton
  • Petro Harvester Oil & Gas & Halliburton
  • SHD Oil & Gas
  • Statoil – Purity Oilfield Services – Nalco
  • Tesoro & Intertek
  • Whiting Oil & Gas
  • XTO Energy & Nabors Drilling

Click here for Jamestown Sun story.

Click here to listen to Sandstrom's interview on Energy Matters (27:28 mark of 4 pm Hour)
 Quick Connect

Factoid of the Week

Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Texting while driving is SIX times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. Eleven teens die every day as a result of texting while driving. In North Dakota text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using ANY electronic communications device, including cell phones.

Source: National Safety Council

Upcoming Events

July 16-18
North Dakota Township Officers Association Conference
Grand Forks

July 17-19
Bismarck Event Center

July 18
Bakken Rocks CookFest

July 19
Energy of North Dakota Fishing Derby
Four Bears Casino and Marina, New Town

July 20
Bakken Rocks CookFest

July 24
ND Oil PAC Dugout Night 

July 27
NC Lignite Coal PAC Golf Tournament
Bismarck and Washburn golf courses

August 3
Lignite Research Council

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 14,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $46.62
                                                   Brent Crude: $49.01
                                                     Natural Gas: $2.98

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 58 (up 2)        7/14/16 -- 29 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs