Winter is releasing its grip on Western North Dakota. Bison in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and other wildlife are getting at grass under the snow more easily than a few weeks ago.

What are your thoughts about the newsletter format?  The goal is to make it a quicker read for you.  If you see a story you want to read, click the link and the full story opens.

Email your thoughts to Executive Director Geoff Simon

WDEA Opposes Bill to Strip Counties of Zoning Authority

The Western Dakota Energy Association is on record in strong opposition to SB 2286 a bill that would eliminate zoning powers of local government in cases involving the siting of oil and natural gas pipelines. The legislation was pitched as an efficiency measure to avoid duplicative hearings, but goes far beyond that objective. 

Click here to read more about WDEA's opposition

--Geoff Simon

Hub City Funding to be on House Floor Monday

HB 1366, which provides funding to the Hub City communities of Dickinson, Minot and Williston, will be debated Monday, Feb. 13, on the floor of the ND House of Representatives. The legislation received an 8-to-6 Do Not Pass vote in the Finance and Taxation Committee.  It has been amended to reduce to $375,000 the amount provided to hub cities for each percentage of mining employment. 
The legislation’s prime sponsor, Rep. Gary Sukut, R-Williston, says it’s a crucial issue for western North Dakota.

Click here to listen to Representative Sukut's explanation

--Geoff Simon

Legislation Would Create ND Department of Environmental Quality

North Dakota legislators are considering SB 2327, a bill that would carve out functions now performed by the Environmental Health Section of the Department of Health, and create a new Department of Environmental Quality. The Environmental Health Section is responsible for state implementation of many of the regulations of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  WDEA Executive Director Geoff Simon had a conversation with Dave Glatt, the current head of the section, who testified in support of the bill.

Click here to listen to Dave Glatt's views on the legislation

--Geoff Simon

Sponsor of Truck Permit Bill on Energy Matters

Representative Dan Ruby, R-Minot, prime sponsor of HB 1320 (, legislation that makes improvements to WDEA truck permit system, discussed the bill this week with Scott Hennen on the radio talk show, Energy Matters.  Click here to listen to the seven-minute interview  

You can also learn more about key parts of the bill here(

                                                                                                                                --Geoff Simon

House Raises Penalty for Protests that Cause Economic Harm 

The ND House of Representatives voted 72-19 this week to approve legislation that criminalizes protest activity that causes an economic loss. Under HB 1193, people would be guilty of a class C felony if they committed a deliberate act that would “cause direct or indirect economic harm in excess of $1,000 to the government or to a person.” Rep. Jim Schmidt, R-Huff, lives about 15 miles from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest area.  He explained why he supported the bill.  

Click here to listen to Reprensentative Schmidt

--Geoff Simon

DAPL work is underway

Energy Transfer Partners announced Wednesday that it has received an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, allowing the Dallas-based company to finish the Dakota Access pipeline after months of protest-driven delay and begin moving crude oil by July. The contractor wasted no time in resuming work on the final segment.

Opponents of the pipeline were running out of options, the tribe’s chairman, David Archambault II, conceded to Reuters in a telephone interview on Wednesday. But, he said, “That doesn’t mean that it’s over.”

  Members Voice – Billings County
Drought, refinery Little Missouri River Crossing and Fairfield bypass

It’s been a busy week meetings in Billings County, and spring looks like it will be an even busier time for public hearings on major projects in Billings County.   The Davis Refinery, the Little Missouri River Crossing and a potential bypass around Fairfield are getting attention in the county.  Permits, reports and public hearings will  move all three projects forward this spring. Commissioners got an update at their regular meeting this week. 

                                                                                                             Click map to see full screen
OPEC crude oil output slides as members reduce output  

The 10 OPEC members obligated to reduce oil output under the landmark agreement signed late last year  achieved 91% of their required cuts in January, with their production falling 1.14 million b/d from October levels, according to an S&P Global Platts survey released Monday.

Those cuts were, however, offset partly by output gains in Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from the accord, and Iran, which is allowed to increase its production slightly.
"Break-even" oil drilling prices slide, but Bakken still high

A driller in the Bakken with an average breakeven price of $52 a barrel. Add in, say, $4 for overhead and interest charges and assume the oil is being sent from North Dakota to refiners on the Gulf Coast by railroad at $12 a barrel. The all-in breakeven price for that barrel is $68. If there's space on a pipeline available, then that comes down to maybe $63 (which is why  President Trump's push for new pipelines is welcomed particularly by inland drillers).

                                                                                                         click on chart to see full screen
Tesoro Eyes Growth in Bakken, Rockies From DAPL Interconnections

During a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth quarter and year-end results, Tesoro and TLLP CEO Greg Goff cited recent expansions in the Bakken and completion of interconnections to the 1,200-mile DAPL project point to more growth in the Williston Basin.
Defective axle to blame for Casselton fiery train derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday determined that a broken axle set off a series of actions that resulted in an accident in which about 476,000 gallons of crude oil spilled and ignited near Casselton, North Dakota, Dec. 30, 2013, raising additional concerns about a widely used rail tank car.

Energy Day to showcase the future of Oil & Gas in North Dakota’s economy

What lies ahead for the Bakken? How will world oil markets impact drilling and production in North Dakota?

Energy Day brings the numbers to the State Capitol on March 7th from 10 am to 1 pm in the Brynhild Haugland Room.

Click here to read more on the agenda for Energy Day

Register at

Upcoming Events

February 18, 2017

February 20, 21, 2017
5th Annual Reclamation Conference
Dickinson, ND

February 22, 2017
Mountrail County 2017 Frost Law Meeting
10:00 AM
South Complex Community Hall, Stanley

February 28, 2017
Williams County Road Information and Frost Law Meeting
Williams County Highway Complex

March 7, 2017
North Dakota Petroleum Council Legislative Social
  BSC NECE, Bismarck

May 2-4, 2017
Williston Basin Petroleum Conference Regina, SK, Canada

Oil prices and rig count
February 10, 2017

WTI Crude: $53.79
                                                   Brent Crude: $56.64
                                                 Natural Gas: $3.10

              North Dakota  Active Drills: 35 (dn 5)        2/10/16 -- 41 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

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