June 9, 2017

Gov. Burgum Talks Infrastructure with Pres. Trump at the White House

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum participated in a roundtable meeting with President Donald Trump yesterday to talk about rebuilding and expanding the nation’s infrastructure.

Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford attended a White House summit with governors from seven other states, as well as mayors, county commissioners and tribal officials from across the country. Burgum had the opportunity to address the president directly during the roundtable discussion.  He thanked Trump for appointing a Cabinet that is “pro-business, pro-energy and pro-agriculture.” 

Burgum said he stressed that North Dakota is an all-of-the-above energy state with wind, coal, oil and ethanol, but federal regulations have hampered progress.

“Regulation is not going to solve our country’s problems at a time when innovation is happening super rapidly,” Burgum said. “We’ve got to get back on the innovation team as a country.”

Click here to read Governor Burgum’s news release on the meeting.  

Click here to read an article by John Hageman in the Grand Forks Herald. 

Liberty CEO: New Secondary Recovery Method Could be “Step Change” for Bakken Producers

Liberty Resources CEO Mark Pearson told an energy crowd in Grand Forks this week he’s convinced that miscible gas recovery could be a “step change for stakeholders operating in the Bakken.”

Speaking at the Energy and Environmental Research Center’s second annual Energizing North Dakota event, Pearson said Liberty is working on a plan to use ethane produced in the Bakken in an enhanced oil recovery project. He said laboratory simulation studies are currently underway, and further design work has yet to be done.  The miscible gas project will also require approval from the North Dakota Industrial Commission, but Pearson believes the technique could lead to oil extraction rates as high as 30-to-40 percent.  Bakken producers are currently recovering only about 10 percent or less of the oil that’s in place.

Pearson said he “cannot overemphasize the importance of this to North Dakota” because it is necessary to make the state more competitive with other non-conventional oil plays. 

Click here to read a paper on Ethane-Based Enhanced Oil Recovery.  

EERC Working to Make Fracking More Effective

Oil and gas industry leaders received an update this week on efforts at UND’s Energy and Environmental Research Center to improve the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing. 

Former PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk, now EERC’s Director of Energy Systems Development, said the use of nanosensors is one way that can help. Nanosensors are tiny mechanical devices that Kalk said are injected with fracking fluid, and can then be used to map temperature and pressure in a wellbore, identify what gases are present, and determine exactly where fracking fluids and proppant have traveled. The sensors, which Kalk said are the size of a flake of pepper, could also be used to help detect pipeline leaks more quickly.  

Kalk said EERC is working in partnership with Rice University on the nanotechnology project.  Other research projects at EERC are making use of scanning electron microscopes to closely examine Bakken shale to determine how pore spaces are connected to develop better methods of oil recovery. 

Click here to read an article about EERC’s partnership with Rice University.  

Click here to read an article from the Society of Petroleum Engineers about the use of nanotechnology in the oil and gas industry. 

New Report Shows Communities
are an Energy Industry Core Value

API released a new report that highlights the tangible ways our industry protects the safety and environment – as it also helps local communities. It’s an important document reflecting the premium placed on responsible energy development by oil and natural gas companies.

From the report:

The safety, health and protection of people, the environment and communities are the top priorities for the natural gas and oil industry. Today, natural gas and oil not only power our lives, but are the building blocks for so many of the products that make modern life possible. But this energy and the amazing things derived from it – everything from clothing and cosmetics to state-of-the-art health care devices and medicines – aren’t possible unless responsible development is the centerpiece of everything the industry does.

Click here to read the API report.

NDDOT Releases Draft 2040 North Dakota State Rail Plan

The ND Department of Transportation has released the Draft 2040 North Dakota State Rail Plan for public review and comment. The purpose of the plan is to guide advancement of the rail system used by the state’s freight shippers and rail passengers.

The plan provides an assessment of the rail system and offers recommendations for policies, programs, processes and projects that will improve rail-related safety and service. The plan reflects the input from rail stakeholders and the public on a variety of areas, including safety and community impacts, the movement of freight by rail, and passenger rail service in the state.

Comments on the plan are being accepted through June 30, 2017.

Click  here for ND DOT rail plan website.
Coal Used for Electricity
Drops to 33-year Low

The U.S. electric power sector consumed 677 million short tons of coal in 2016, the lowest amount since 1984. Electric power sector coal consumption accounted for more than 93% of all coal consumed in the United States.

More than two-thirds of this coal was shipped either completely or in part by rail. Most of the remainder was shipped by barge, truck, or by conveyor to power plants located near a coal mine.

As coal shipments decline, rail remains the dominant mode of coal transport to the power sector. 
This Week: Glue for Gravel Roads Hands-on Demo from ND LTAP

The North Dakota Local Technical Assistance Program is conducting must attend training sessions next week for anyone who touches gravel or gravel roads. Motor grader operators, county road superintendents, county commissioners, township officers, contractors and gravel suppliers are encouraged to attend.

Classes are at three locations June 13, 14 and 15.

Click here for details.   
Dry Conditions Prompt Burn Bans and Drought Declarations

The U.S. Drought Monitor rates nearly 90% of North Dakota short on moisture. Ward County has joined a growing list of Western North Dakota counties limiting burning.  The unusually dry weather has prompted counties such as Stark and Dunn Counties to also limit outdoor burning.

The penalty for violating a burn ban is 30 days in jail and/or $1,500 fine.

Click here to see North Dakota drought map.

Click  here to see North Dakota burn ban map, or click on the image.

Read more about the Dunn and Stark County burn bans here.

Bismarck Tribune's drought story is here.

Thanks to DAPL, Pipeline Capacity Sufficient to Transport all Bakken Crude Production

The amount of North Dakota crude leaving the state by rail cars has been fallen substantially the past few months. That's because there is now enough pipeline capacity to take the current production of Bakken crude to market. 

State officials say the pipeline capacity will also spur some competition, meaning there will likely be less of a premium to ship oil by rail.

 Dave Thompson's Prairie Public Radio story is here

McKenzie County Area has 2,000 Job Openings

Economic development offices in McKenzie and Williams Counties are teaming up with Job Service next week to match job seekers with employers in the area.

A Job Fair is scheduled June 14 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Rough Rider Center in Watford City.

McKenzie County Commissioner Gene Veeder talked about the event with Scott Hennen on the KFYR radio program Energy Matters this week. Veeder said many people think the pace has slowed in the Bakken because of the downturn in oil prices, but he told Hennen that’s not the case.

Click here to listen to Veeder’s comments. Click here to listen to the full interview with Veeder (advance to the 15:25 mark of the first hour).

Click here for additional details about the Job Fair. 

Quick Connect
Factoid of the Week

Oil is far and away the dominant source of energy used for transportation.  In 2016, petroleum products provided 92% of the total energy used in the U.S. transportation sector. Biofuels such as ethanol/biodiesel, and natural gas contributed most of the rest. Electricity provided less than 1% of the total energy used in transportation. 

Source: EIA 

Upcoming Events

June 13, 14,15
13th: Fryburg
14th: Mandan
15th: Devils Lake

June 14

June 27

July 17-19
Bismarck Event Center

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

June 9,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $45.88
                                                   Brent Crude: $48.18
                                                     Natural Gas: $3.05

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 52 (up 3)        6/9/16 -- 27 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

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