June 2, 2017

Hub City Study Among
Interim Legislative Topics

A North Dakota legislative committee will take an in-depth look at oil and gas tax revenue allocations to hub cities and hub city school districts.

The hub city study, suggested in SB 2013, is among 50 topics selected this week by the Legislative Management Committee. Other topics of interest to WDEA members include studies of re-frack incentives, wind energy impacts and wind taxation, methods of transportation funding, industrial water use, and the revised natural gas and oil pipeline siting process established in SB 2286

A complete list of interim study topics will be posted in the minutes of the Legislative Management Committee

Forum News Service story on Interim Legislative Topics is here

USGS Study Adds to Evidence that Fracking 
Not a Significant Threat to Drinking Water

The US Geological Survey released a study Wednesday that echoes conclusions of a list of peer-reviewed papers concluding hydraulic fracturing is not a major threat to drinking water.

After randomly sampling 116 water wells across the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville and Haynesville shale plays — and using chemical, isotopic, gas and groundwater-age tracers to thoroughly evaluate those samples — USGS researchers concluded that low concentrations of methane and benzene detected were likely naturally occurring and not attributable to shale development.

Click here to read the USGS news release.

Energy Impact Office Announces Availability
of Grants to Help Victims of Human Trafficking

The North Dakota Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office is seeking grant applications from agencies that provide prevention and treatment services for victims of human trafficking.

Up to $825,000 in grants will be awarded by the University and School Lands Board, based on recommendations from the attorney general.  Areas eligible for consideration include development and implementation of direct care emergency or long-term crisis services, residential care, training for law enforcement, support of advocacy services, and programs promoting positive outcomes for victims.

Organizations throughout North Dakota are eligible, not just those in oil-producing counties. 
For more details about the grant program, click here

Cenex Announces Pipeline Replacement
from Sidney to Minot

CHS is continually working to improve its ability to serve its cooperative owners. To ensure a reliable supply of gasoline and diesel fuel for farmer-owners and customers and for continued safety, Cenex Pipeline LLC plans to replace the 8-inch segment of line from Sidney, Mont., to Minot with a state-of-the-art 10-inch pipeline. 

CHS has also made the decision to re-route the pipeline. The new route was chosen in order to minimize the amount of construction taking place in sensitive areas, while also avoiding difficult river crossings and numerous other engineering and land-use challenges.

Click here to read Renée Jean's Williston Herald story.

  EPA Issues 90-Day Stay on Methane Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday officially halted oil and natural gas regulations imposed by former President Barack Obama a year ago, while it reconsiders the regulations in line with industry requests.

The EPA action officially stayed portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standard for oil and natural gas fracking operations for 90 days. The rules are meant to curb methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas production.

Click here to read the EPA news release.
DAPL is Fully Functional

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP)  announced that the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline (“ETCO”), collectively the “Bakken Pipeline,” are in commercial service under the Committed Transportation Service Agreements through their respective pipeline systems.

Full statement from Energy Transfer Partners is  here

Dallas Morning News story is here.

PSC to investigate DAPL Complaints

Dakota Access Pipeline officials will meet with state regulators this summer over two complaints lodged against the company.  One complaint alleges the company did not follow notification rules when it re-routed the pipeline to avoid cultural artifacts. Another alleges the company cleared trees and shrubs in violation of its permit.

Read more here.
Senator Hoeven Announces Infrastructure Help 

At a roundtable with state, local and private industry leaders yesterday, Senator John Hoeven outlined his bipartisan legislation, the Move America Act, which would help reduce the cost of infrastructure across North Dakota, including comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley.

Further, because it supports the use of public-private partnerships, Move America helps states work through their backlog of infrastructure needs in a more timely fashion and reduces the risk to states and cities by bringing in private investment. This means states can respond to needs more easily as they arise, whether it's expanding infrastructure in a fast-growing region, providing sewer and water upgrades to protect the health of a community or building flood protection to protect lives and property.  

Full story from Sen. Hoeven news release is here.

Senator Hoeven Announces Grant Money for Local Airports

Senator Hoeven announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded grants totaling more than $2.5 million for airports across North Dakota. Among the airports receiving funds on WDEA turf are Crosby, Tioga, Mohall, Stanley and Bowman. 

Here is the full list.
CO2 Capture Plays Critical Role
in Power Plant Expansions

North Dakota looks to expand coal-fired power plants, but only if CO2 capture technology can make it possible. Clean coal technology is the key, and even the US Department of Energy is investigating the possibility. 

More from Forum News Service's Patrick Springer here

NDPC Offering $2,000 scholarships for MHA Tribal members

MHA Nation sits atop some rich oil reserves, making it a hot spot for development and lots of jobs and careers. Yet according to Dave Williams, President and CEO of Missouri River Resources, a Tribally-chartered energy company, unemployment, poverty and reliance on social services remain high.

Williams and the ND Petroleum Council are hoping to change by offering a $2,000 scholarship to two Three Affiliated Tribes members pursuing an education in the energy industry.  

Details are here.
Wind Farm Expansion Encounters Cultural Artifacts

Allete Clean Energy has been forced to revise its plans for a wind farm in Adams County after cultural artifacts were discovered. The relics are up to 7,500 years old. 

According to the archeological site form, “based on the documented projectile points, this site may be associated with the Early Plains Archaic Tradition, which spans from 7,500 to 4,500 B.P. (before present). At this time, it is unknown whether the observed lithic scatter represents a single event or repeated use. The presence of broken projectile points and tools with heavy use may indicate the site was used for retooling after a hunting event or for carcass or hide processing.”

Read more  here.
North Dakotans are on Both Sides
of Wind Energy Development

At the end of 2016, North Dakota's wind energy capacity exceeded all but 10 other states and nearly tripled that of neighboring South Dakota while closing the gap on Minnesota.

Developing even more wind energy in North Dakota has its supporters and detractors.  E&E Publishing looked into the pros and cons. Its article focuses on plans for a wind farm in rural Burleigh County.

Read about it here.

Opposition to Meridian Refinery Continues

Valerie Naylor, former superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, continues to rally opposition to the proposed Meridian Refinery near Belfield. Though prevailing winds in the region are from the west and the refinery is east of the park, Naylor contends haze from the refinery will affect the view from the South Unit of the park.  

The story on opposition is  here.

Credibility of Meridian Refinery Opposition is Questioned

Supporters of the refinery dispute Naylor and say the refinery would not be “at the doorstep” of the park. It would be miles away. What’s more, the refinery is not “within view” of the park.

Say Anything Blog story is  here.

Time to Get on Board
Watford City Job Fair

A Job Fair is coming up June 14 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Rough Rider Center in Watford City.  Organizers such as McKenzie County Economic Development coordinator Daniel Stenberg are appreciative of the involvement and the publicity of the job fair.  

"Given the fact that our unemployment rate is already low, we will have to attract from outside the area if we want to make a dent in our workforce needs," Stenberg said.  "As of right now we have over 30 employers signed up."

Here's the link to the full details.

Quick Connect
Factoid of the Week

Overweight truck permits are not valid for travel on asphalt pavements or chip-sealed roads when air temperatures are 85 degrees or higher. This is a NDDOT state overweight regulation, and is routinely enforced on county roads as well. Please plan your trip accordingly on hot days.

Upcoming Events

June 5
ND Industrial Commission  

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 1,  2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $48.36
                                                   Brent Crude: $50.63
                                                     Natural Gas: $3.00

              North Dakota Active Rigs: 49 (Down 1)        6/1/16 -- 27 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

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