House Hub City Amendment Would Grab Money from Oil Townships

A 13-page amendment tacked onto the ND Department of Trust Lands budget bill (SB 2013) would grab oil tax revenue from oil-county townships and redistribute it to non-oil townships.

The language was adopted Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee.  Other provisions in the amendment would provide funds for airports in Dickinson and Williston, but would reduce the Hub City allocation to city government and school districts in Williston, Minot and Dickinson.

Click here to read more.

Pipeline Siting Legislation Receives Final Approval

The ND Senate this week concurred with House amendments to SB 2286. The legislation will consolidate state and local hearings associated with siting gas and liquid transmission pipelines.

The bill is intended to streamline the siting process, which currently includes hearings by the Public Service Commission, after which local planning and zoning boards hold hearings to consider conditional use permits associated with the pipeline project.

In his remarks on the floor, the bill’s sponsor Senator Don Schaible, R-Mott, said the legislation improves efficiency.

Click here to listen to Sen. Schaible’s comments.

The bill includes an interim legislative study to ensure the new process addresses local concerns.

Truck Permit Legislation on its way to Governor’s Desk

Legislation intended to improve the operation of WDEA’s Uniform Truck Permit System received final legislative approval this week.

HB 1320  was the product of a working group representing WDEA, the ND Association of Counties, ND townships and the oil and gas industry. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, explained during floor remarks that the legislation addresses problems with the permit system, and will facilitate expansion plans.

Click here to listen to Rep. Ruby’s explanation.

House Approves Bill Restoring Sakakawea Mineral Rights

By a vote of 79-11, the ND House this week gave final approval to a bill that restores mineral rights that were taken when the floodwaters of Garrison Dam formed Lake Sakakawea.

SB 2134 would use the old high-water mark of the Missouri River channel as the demarcation point for mineral leasing. The bill sets up a timeline for the state Land Board to distribute bonus, rent and royalty payments that have been kept in escrow, covering an estimated 25,000 acres of mineral rights.

Supporters such as Rep. George Keiser, R-Bismarck, see the state’s previous action as a land grab. 

Click here to listen to Rep. Keiser’s remarks. 

The bill carries a fiscal note indicating payments could total nearly $188 million. 

Click here to read article by Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service.

House votes down changes in oil tax trigger

The Senate wants to maintain the status quo with a five-percent tax when extraction oil is less than $90 per barrel, and five-percent when it's above $90.

The House wants to levy a flat five-percent extraction tax no matter what the price of oil is. North Dakota producers also pay a five-percent production tax.

Dave Thompson Prairie Public Radio story is here

 At least 12 bills reshape oil sector

The Williston Herald this week provided a good short overview of some of the oil-related bills in the 2017 Legislature: "From water sales and oil patch funding to pipeline restoration and spill reporting, the North Dakota Legislature has a dozen or more bills it is considering to further shape and refine the oil and gas sector. The exact outcome of the bills, as always, depends on politics, with some factions in the Senate ready to hold out on some of the more highly sought bills if they don’t see what they want to see when it comes to funding needs."

Security Screening to become Permanent Fixture at Capitol

North Dakota is generally considered a pretty safe place to live, but visitors to the State Capitol will have to get used to passing through a metal detector.

The checkpoints were initiated for the 2017 legislative session as a precaution in light of ongoing protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  But the screening will be made permanent thanks to a provision added to the state Highway Patrol budget by the Government Operations division of the House Appropriations Committee.

A member of the committee, Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, said times have changed and the state needs to make sure the Capitol is safe. 

Click here to listen to Rep. Nathe’s comments.

McKenzie County school enrollment set to double

A report projecting school enrollment growth in McKenzie County shows officials and taxpayers need to get ready for more explosive growth.  The report shows an enrollment increase by 50 percent in the next five years, and by 100 percent in 10 years.

See the chart full size, click here

Read the full story from the McKenzie County farmer,  click here
North Dakota lawmaker seeks DAPL reimbursement through AG action

Rep. Keith Kempenich, (R-Bowman), wants the attorney general to file a lien against any federal property in North Dakota, except for tribal land, in order to ensure reimbursement for costs associated with Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

API study shows cost of "keep it in the ground"

In a 28-page report, the  key findings of the API study show a loss of 5.9 million jobs, a loss of $11.8 trillion in cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) and a potential increase in annual household costs of $4,552.

In addition, the study estimates that the price of crude would increase by $40 a barrel (WTI), the price of natural gas would rise $21 per million Btu and electricity rates would go up 56.4 percent.

A vocal anti-oil minority are working to obstruct energy development and infrastructure projects, reducing our energy options under a false belief that oil and natural gas production and use are incompatible with environmental progress.
Oil prices trend up this week

WTI and Brent jumped to one month highs on the news of U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and while direct risks to oil supply are limited, oil traders are on edge.

Reuters story on Syria airstrike prices is here

U.S. Threatens OPEC As Oil Exports Hit Record High n February, the latest month for which data is available, U.S. exports climbed to a record high 31.2 million barrels.

Quick Connect

Bakken optimism sees at least 18 months of growth  Dickinson Press

Haliburton sees growth  Houston Business Journal

Watford City golf course undergoing major transformation Minot Daily News

Thousands of defects found on oil train routes Associated Press

Upcoming Events

April 8, 2017 
Dickinson Police & Fire Heroes Ball
Ramada Grand

April 13
LTAP Video Conference: 
Identifying Asphalt Roadway Fatigue
And Treatments Pavement Management And Preservation

April 17
LTAP Webinar: 
Intelligent Work Zones

April 18-20
Lignite Council Annual Meeting
Bismarck Event Center

April 21
Teddy Roosevelt Mule Deer Foundation Banquet
Dickinson Astoria Hotel

April 30- May 7
U.S. Highway 85 Clean-Up week 

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

July 17-19, 2017
The Bakken Conference and Expo
Bismarck Event Center

Oil prices and rig count

April 7, 2017

                                                      WTI Crude: $52.20
                                                   Brent Crude: $55.15
                                                      Natural Gas: $3.26

              North Dakota  Active Drills: 49 (unch)        4/7/16 -- 31 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

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