August 25, 2017
Hurricane Threatens Texas Shale Plays
Supply Disruption Could Impact Oil Price

Hurricane Harvey’s impact on U.S. oil production could extend beyond offshore platforms and Gulf Coast refineries. Extreme flooding threatens to bring Texas shale activity to a halt, and it may take weeks before some shale fields can bounce back.

Forecasters are warning residents of life-threatening conditions from the slow-moving Category 3 storm. The National Hurricane Center said it expects “catastrophic” flooding across portions of south and southeastern Texas.

Motorists across the U.S. might see a spike in gasoline prices following disruptions. Pump prices could jump 15 to 25 cents a gallon, said Price Futures Group senior market analyst Phil Flynn.

Texas is the largest oil producer in the US, and part of the Eagle Ford shale formation lies in the projected path of the storm. Producers were suspending drilling in the Eagle Ford and began evacuating non-essential staff yesterday.

Click here to read more about the hurricane's impact on oil markets from Seeking Alpha.
Water Commission Approves Grants
to Western ND Water Supply Projects
Several western North Dakota water supply projects were awarded matching grant funds Wednesday by the State Water Commission.
The commission approved a $1,040,000 grant to the city of New Town. Mayor Dan Uran told the commission the money will be used to help build a 250,000 gallon water tower, which is needed to deliver water to new developments on higher terrain on the north side of town. The city completed a new water treatment plant last year.
The North Central Regional Water District received grants totaling just over $6.5 million for a two phase project. General manager Teresa Sundsbak said the first phase involves construction of water supply and transmission lines. The second phase will be construction of distribution lines to serve rural customers. The North Central district covers 4,300 square miles in parts of seven counties. Click here to see a map.
The Water Commission also approved a $434,000 grant to the City of Williston for a water main project crossing Hwy 2, and $166,950 to the City of Mercer for a project that will secure a new water supply from the McLean-Sheridan water district to replace a 40-year-old well that has become unreliable.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first for the newly-appointed members of the Water Commission. 
Click here for a list of its members.
The Commission also voted to tap Missouri River water to relieve eastern North Dakota drought.
Click here for the WDAY story.
Industrial Commission Funds Coal Research
The ND Industrial Commission awarded a $3.2 million research grant this week to “Project Carbon,” a cooperative effort aimed at determining the best carbon capture technology options and system configurations for an existing lignite-fired system.
The total budget for the project is $12.7 million, a portion of which comes from the US Department of Energy. The ultimate goal of the project is to support commercial demonstration of post-combustion capture (PCC) systems. It will include a pre-FEED (front-end engineering and design) study for implementation of PCC at MinnKota Power’s Milton R. Young Station near Center. 

Click here for more details about Project Carbon.
The Industrial Commission also approved a $225,000 grant to Microbeam Technologies for a project that will investigate ways to find coal seams with the highest concentrations of rare earth elements. To maximize recovery of REEs, selective mining will be needed. Researchers hope to develop a low-cost, reliable analysis technique to allow stockpiling of high REE content material for processing.
Click here to read more about the Rare Earth Element project.
Education Funding to be Discussed
at WDEA Annual Meeting

Appropriate levels of state-supported funding for K-12 education in oil-impacted communities are the subject of an interim legislative study, and will also be on the agenda at WDEA’s annual meeting November 1-2 in Dickinson.
WDEA Past President Steve Holen, who is the school superintendent in Watford City, will lead a panel discussion on the topic. The panel will feature Senator Don Schaible, R-Mott, who is chairman of the interim Education Funding Committee. Also on the panel will be Senator David Rust, R-Tioga, who prior to his election to the legislature was superintendent of the Tioga Public School District. Rounding out the panel will be Leslie Bieber, the current superintendent of schools in Alexander.

The annual meeting will be held at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge in Dickinson. Click here to view the agenda, register or check out hotel information.
Watford City to Study Retail Sector Opportunities

The Watford City Council has agreed to contract with a company that specializes in customer analytics to help the community identify gaps in its retail sector.

The council voted to spend up to $165,000 over the next three years with Buxton, a company that gathers detailed consumer spending data to identify market opportunities in a given area.

Watford City Mayor Justin Voll said even though the city has a lot more retail businesses than just a few years, one of the most common complaints he hears is that the city still doesn't have enough retail establishments. Voll said not only will the study help spot retail gaps in Watford City, the data can also be used to help individual businesses in the community identify new market opportunities..

Click here to read more from the McKenzie County Farmer.
Drought Conditions Improve Slightly

Areas of extraordinary drought have disappeared in central North Dakota. (See previous national drought map here to compare.) Despite the recent rains, significant long-term dryness still existed so drought conditions continued for much of the region. In North Dakota, it was reported that some ranchers are resorting to drilling new wells as the previously established wells have dried up.

Nearly 100 percent of the state is still categorized as at least abnormally dry. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts that drought conditions will persist through Nov. 30.

Click here to see drought monitor page.

The State Water Commission is adding $500,000 to North Dakota’s Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply cost-share program.

Click here for more from the Associated Press.

Read more about drought response here from Bismarck Tribune
Nationally-Known Economist Heads NDPC Agenda
Former Wall Street Journal economics writer Stephen Moore will be among the featured speakers at this year’s annual meeting of the ND Petroleum Council, September 26-28 in Grand Forks
Moore is now the Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Project for Economic Growth, at The Heritage Foundation. In his position with Heritage, Moore focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth in the United States. He previously served as a senior economic adviser for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The NDPC meeting also features a panel discussion on the latest oil recovery techniques, a look at the next generation of petroleum engineers, and an oil market outlook from ConocoPhillips senior economist Helen Currie.
Click here for more details about the NDPC meeting.
Thousands Ticketed During Seat Belt Campaign

Law enforcement agencies across North Dakota issued 4,308 citations during a statewide Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign July 1 through August 15.

Of the total citations, 1521 were for failure to wear a seat belt and 58 were child restraint citations. Tickets for speeding totaled 1,788. The traffic stops also resulted in 42 drug arrests, 10 driving under the influence citations, 11 citations for distracted driving and four felony violations.

Failure to use a seat belt is the most significant factor associated with motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths in North Dakota. Over the past five years, about 6 out of every 10 people killed in a motor vehicle crash were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
 Quick Connect

  • Anadarko shale draws activity away from Permian -- Bay Street

  • Bakken Water Acquires Dakota Energy Resources -- News Release

  • Cabot Oil and Gas declines to play sue-and-settle- - Forbes

  • Op-ed: Bigger trucks destroy roads faster than can rebuild -- Inforum

  • Op-ed: Losing environmental activists stoop to dangerous lows -- SayAnything Blog
Factoid of the Week

The lignite industry is North Dakota’s fifth largest industry behind agriculture, oil and gas, tourism and manufacturing. The industry (coal mining and coal conversion) accounted for $3.4 billion of the state's economic base in 2015. It directly employs 3,942 people in North Dakota. The lignite counties of McLean, Mercer and Oliver have some of the highest wages in North Dakota.

Upcoming Events
August 28

August 30-31
Grand Williston Hotel

August 31

September 6-7
Tioga, Williston

September 8
ND CoalPAC Sporting Clay Shoot

October 4-5
Raymond Family Community Center - Williston

November 1-2
Oil prices and rig count

August 25, 2017

WTI Crude: $47.80
Brent Crude: $52.31
Natural Gas: $2.90

       North Dakota Active Rigs: 55 (up 2)      8/25/16 -- 31 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs