ND Petroleum Council hosts teacher seminar

Jun 20, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

More than 50 teachers from North Dakota and eastern Montana are attending the annual North Dakota Petroleum Council Teacher education Seminar at Bismarck State College.

The Council has been doing these seminars for more than 30 years. Council president Ron Ness said it’s a great way to get the facts about the energy industry to the schools – and talk to students about the opportunities in the industry.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy



If the coal industry is to survive, its savior may be something often touted by President Donald Trump when he talks energy.

“We’re going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” he said earlier this year in announcing an executive order to roll back the emission-targeting Clean Power Plan.

Judge's Order Poses Uncertain Future For Pipeline

Jun 15, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

After a year of protests and controversy, oil began flowing through the 1,200-mile Dakota Access pipeline earlier this month. But the pipeline’s ultimate fate is now uncertain after a federal judge issued a ruling on Wednesday that challenges parts of the environmental review completed before the pipeline was permitted.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s April oil production remained above a million barrels a day.

It was up nearly 25,000 barrels a day from the March number -- about a 2.4% increase.

"Happy, happy, happy," said state mineral resources director Lynn Helms at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "I think that was more than many of us expected."

There are 55 drilling rigs operating in the Bakken. But Helms said one potential drawback to getting new wells completed is – there aren’t enough frack crews right now.

Supreme Court considering mineral rights case

Jun 13, 2017

A dispute over ownership of mineral rights under Lake Sakakawea is now before the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the William Wilkinson family believe the state illegally took the family’s mineral rights from property flooded by the closing of the Garrison Dam.

Attorney Josh Swanson told the court the family sold the surface acres, but not the mineral rights.

"This court can decide whether the district court erred as a matter of law in ruling that the state's actions were not an unconstitutional taking of the Wilkinsons' property," Swanson argued.

Lignite Energy Council 'Teachers' Seminar' underway

Jun 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Lignite Energy Council is holding its annual Teachers’ Seminar at Bismarck State College.

It’s been holding this summer event for the past 32 years.

"The idea is, people who are teaching will include information about the lignite industry when they're teaching about math. science, the history of North Dakota," said the Council's Steve Van Dyke. "The lignite industry is the 5th largest industry in the state, and it plays a votal role."

Van Dyke was the first speaker at the seminar. He totled his talk, "Lignite -- North Dakota's Best kept Secret."

From 'Oil Can!' to 'Energy of North Dakota'

Jun 8, 2017
Courtesy ND Petroleum Council

Different name – same idea.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council has been using the “Oil Can!” brand for its outreach campaigns. It’s changing that – to “Energy of North Dakota.”

Council spokesperson  Tessa Sandstrom said when people are asked what they think of when they hear “North Dakota,” it’s mainly about agriculture, wide open spaces, NDSU football and UND hockey.

An interim Legislative committee will be studying whether state and local level regulation of radioactive waste is consistent with federal regulations.

The study will look at ensuring the state has proper input into the federal selection of nuclear waste depositories – and how the legislature can be called into special session to deal with the issue.

This comes from concerns in Wells County about a “test hole” to be drilled in the county. Residents there complained they were not told about the test.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A milestone for North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad.

For the first time since he began that job – in 2008 – there is enough pipeline capacity to take the current production of Bakken crude to market. A substantial amount of crude has been shipped by rail – but that percentage has been reduced as more pipeline capacity comes on line.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is now operational – and is to carry 520,000 barrels of oil a day.

But Kringstad said oil will still move by rail.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission will hold hearings on what PSC staff allege is violations of the siting permit issued to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The hearings will deal with the company clearing more trees and shrubs than authorized, as well as a re-route of a section of the line without telling the PSC about the re-route.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the potential violations were found by a third-party contractor, hired to inspect the pipeline's construction.