June 23, 2017

July 13 Truck Permit Committee Meeting
Set to Consider New Routing System 

The WDEA Executive Committee has called a special meeting of its Truck Permit Advisory Committee to discuss plans for development of a routable road map to enhance operation of the permit system.

The plan for the routable map will be presented at the meeting set for July 13 at 1:30 pm at the Williams County Highway Complex in Williston.

Permit system operator Janet Sanford said it’s important that each member county be represented at the meeting because project funding will be discussed. The WDEA board has proposed the project be funded by assessing a fee of up to 4% on the permit revenue received by member counties. Sanford said it’s essential that WDEA receive feedback about the project and its funding method.

The routable road map is an important enhancement for trucking industry users as well as participating counties and townships.  The sheriff (or designee) and one Commissioner (or designee) from each county/city have voting rights on the permit committee.

Members are asked to RSVP via email to janet@ndteamworks.com.

Legislative Management to Sue Governor Burgum Over Vetoes

The North Dakota Legislature’s Management Committee voted this week to prepare a lawsuit to determine whether vetoes issued by Governor Doug Burgum were legal.

Gov. Burgum vetoed portions of several bills enacted late in the 2017 legislative session.  It was his selective deletion of legislative language that will be the subject of the litigation.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said if the vetoes go unchallenged, it would open the door for the governor to change legislative intent by deleting part of a sentence.

“We’re the only ones that can pass laws,” Carlson said. “We’re the only ones that can spend money.”

Management Committee Chairman Senator Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, agreed.  Holmberg said for example, striking the word “not” from the phrase “shall not” could completely reverse the action of the legislature.

The committee instructed its legal staff to draft litigation, and will meet at least one more time before the lawsuit proceeds.  It will likely go directly to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Climate Scientist Praises Use of Fossil Fuels
Calls Trump Paris Decision “A Breath of Fresh Air”

Noted climate scientist Roy Spencer believes people who take an objective view of the climate debate will recognize and appreciate the value of fossil fuels.

Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, was interviewed this week by WDEA Executive Director Geoff Simon on the Energy Matters radio program.

Spencer said some people believe the effects of carbon dioxide emissions will have negative effects on the climate, but he points out we know the use of fossil fuels has been positive for humanity.

Click here to listen to Spencer’s comment.

Spencer characterized President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord as “a breath of fresh air,” but said he knew Trump would be savaged for it.

Click here to listen to Spencer’s comments about the Paris agreement.

Click here to listen to the entire Energy Matters interview (advance to 26:43 mark of 3pm hour).

Click here to read more about Spencer’s views.

State Budget Office Develops
New Oil Tax Flow Chart

To describe the distribution of North Dakota oil tax revenue as complicated would be an understatement, but the state Office of Management and Budget has attempted to make it a little more understandable.

During a presentation to the legislature’s Budget Section this week, OMB distributed a newly-developed flow chart based on actions of the 2017 Legislature.

The document combines the distribution of the oil extraction tax and gross production tax into a single chart.  It also includes a brief description of each of the entities that receive oil tax revenue.

Download the flow chart here.

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association Highlights Litter
in Quarterly Report

The spring cleanup of Highway 85 (The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway) was again successful thanks to the many volunteers that stepped up and out to clean North Dakota communities and roadways. For years TREA has been involved with volunteer groups that take highway litter problems very seriously. The volume of litter was down this year from 2016 according to reports from the Williston and Dickinson districts that disposed of the bags picked up by volunteers.

HB 1311 passed by the 2017 Legislature raised the fine for littering from $100 to $500.  TREA hopes higher fines will help promote awareness to address the problem along North Dakota’s highways. 
NDLTAP Glue for Gravel Roads --
Billings County Workshop

Billings County hosted the new ND Local Technical Assistance Program workshop "Glue for Gravel Roads and Cutting Edge Demo - "Making Gravel Roads Great Again" June 13 in Fryburg. 

Other workshops were held in Mandan and Devils Lake. NDLTAP plans to offer three more workshops in May 2018. Anone interested in hosting a workshop is asked to contact the NDLTAP office at 701-328-9855.

Click here to read Curt Glasoe's report.
Saskatchewan Oil on the Rebound, Alberta Energy Concerned about NAFTA

Struggles in the oil industry do not stop at the Canadian border.  They're taking center stage in the oil-producing prairie provinces of our neighbors to the north as well.

In Alberta the energy minister is meeting with North Dakota officials to discuss keeping open the trade potential allowed under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Saskatchewan the oil and gas industry is climbing out of the same depression with which U.S. oil companies are dealing. Roughly 30 percent of production in southeastern Saskatchewan came from the Bakken in 2016. The Bakken produced 45,464 barrels of oil per day, down from about 54,000 bpd in 2015. The high was in 2012 when Saskatchewan's Bakken production peaked at 65,000 bpd.

As it is in other shale plays, efficiency is the key to economic viability.  It costs more to produce oil in the oil sands of Canada because the process to convert to crude is complex.  However, just as in the U.S., Canadian oil companies have increased their efficiency during the recent price crunch. 

Read about Alberta's concerns here.

Saskatchewan's oil and gas numbers are here.

Click here to read how efficiency in oil sands production improves its outlook.
ND Drought Conditions Worsen 

Gov. Doug Burgum has declared a drought emergency which allows the state Water Commission to activate a water supply assistance program for livestock producers in 26 central and western North Dakota counties.

Burgum's executive order declares a drought emergency for 15 counties experiencing extreme drought, as well as 11 adjacent counties. The Water Commission has $250,000 available to assist eligible livestock producers with a 50 percent cost-share assistance agreement up to $3,500 per project.

In North Dakota 32 percent of land is considered to be in severe drought, 27 percent in moderate drought and 33 percent is considered abnormally dry. 

Click here to read Gov. Burgum's Executive Order.
The situation is considered severe because of the near absence of rain since April when crops went into the ground and alfalfa and grasses began reaching for moisture to continue growing.

As a result of the dry weather, the number of counties issuing burn bans continues to grow. Most of the counties are in the western part of the state. Dickinson has escaped the watering limits thus far, and city officials say they have plenty of water to get by during the drought.

Click here to see why Dickinson is not restricting water use. 
Lignite Council Teacher Tour

Teachers from around the region got an up-close view of North Dakota’s lignite industry last week. More than 100 teachers toured a coal mine and power plant, and received educational information about North Dakota’s coal industry thanks to the Lignite Energy Council.

The Council has offered its teacher seminar since 1986, allowing teachers to earn graduate credits.

Read more  here from the Bismarck Tribune.
ND Petroleum Council Logo
ND Petroleum Council Teacher Tour

The Energy of North Dakota program hosted more than 50 teachers to help expand teachers’ knowledge of North Dakota's oil and gas industry, from its prehistoric beginnings to the final product.

The seminar covered various aspects of the industry including history, geology, physics, engineering, production issues, refining and marketing, employment needs, and the impact of oil taxes on state tax revenues, policy decisions and the state’s budget picture.

Click here to read and hear more from Prairie Public's Dave Thompson.

Quick Connect

  • Minn man convicted of $2 million Bakken RV Park fraud US News

  • Another study shows fracking doesn't harm drinking water Daily Signal

  • Young people don't want to work for oil companies CNN Money

  • Anti-DAPL protests grow in Iowa Ames Tribune

  • Environmental justice factored into DAPL decision Bismarck Tribune

  • NDPC scholarship winner says industry is generous NDPC

  • PSC approves natural gas line to Bobcat in Gwinner Public Service Commission

  • Shale's record fracklog could force crude prices even lower Bloomberg
Factoid of the Week

It takes as many as 65 loads to move more than 90 separate pieces of an oil drilling rig.  45 to 50 of those loads need oversize permits.  As many as eight loads can weigh between 70,000 pounds and 90,000 pounds. Altogether a drilling rig on the move can weigh as much as two million pounds.

(Source: ND Petroleum Council)

Upcoming Events

June 27

June 27-28
July 13
WDEA Uniform Truck Permit Advisory Committee

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

July 17-19
Bismarck Event Center

July 18
Bakken Rocks CookFest

July 19
Fishing Derby
Four Bears Casino and Marina, New Town

July 20
Bakken Rocks CookFest

July 24
ND Oil PAC Dugout Night 

October 4-5
Raymond Family Community Center -  Williston
Oil prices and rig count

June 23,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $42.99
                                                   Brent Crude: $45.50
                                                     Natural Gas: $2.93

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 58 (up 2)        6/23/16 -- 30 rigs
Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs
Western Dakota Energy Association