Energy

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

There’s a sense of excitement taking over the Bakken oil patch, like at the M&H gas station in Williston.

Over the last year, it was pretty quiet for store manager Angela Neuman.

“Now, there’s a constant rush at some point or another during the day,” she said. “You notice more cars, you notice more fuel, you notice your fuel deliveries are more.”

She’s having to place more orders for her two most popular items: cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will continue curbing oil output through March 2018, opening the door for more production in the United States.

 

Late last year, OPEC -- along with Russia -- agreed to cut production. 

The cartel wanted to boost oil prices amid an oversupply of crude on the global market. 

But OPEC's cuts gave the United States an opportunity to fill in the gap. Oil production here soared and prices have moved up, but more slowly than anticipated. 

Minot-based Central Power Cooperative is receiving a $50.4 million loan from USDA’s electric program.

The loan will be used to add 32 miles of transmission line, replace 57 miles of existing line, build 9 new substations and make improvements to 20 other substations.

Central Power is a generation and transmission cooperative that serves six distribution co-ops. Those co-ops serve 65,000 customers across 25 counties in central and southeastern North Dakota.

In North Dakota, Will Wind Keep The Lights On?

May 16, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Steven Somsen’s farm has looked the same his entire life -- it’s flat, with wheat and soybeans that will soon grow as far as the eye can see.

But the 61-year-old’s view changed last year.

“Those are the closest ones to us, but they’re not our towers,” he said, pointing to several nearby wind turbines. “That’s the neighbors’. Ours are way, way off in there.”

One hundred wind turbines dot the farmland around his rural community of Courtenay in eastern North Dakota. Somsen has three on his land.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A subsidiary of MDU Resources, In. continues to work on a project to bring more natural gas to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

It’s called the Valley Expansion project. WBI would build a 38 mile pipeline to connect the Viking Gas Transmission Company’s pipeline in Felton, Minnesota to the existing Williston Basin pipeline near Mapleton.

ND still producing over one million barrels of oil

May 12, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is still producing over one million barrels of oil per day.

That’s shown in the just-released March production figures.

"We had a very slight downtick in production from February to March," said Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "Gas production was up 1.4%."

The figures: March oil production at 1,025,638 barrels a day. Natural gas at 1.7 MCF per day.

Shelved wind farm could be soon under construction

May 11, 2017

A wind farm project that has been on the shelf for several years may soon be built.

The Merricourt Wind Power Project was to be built near Ashley, in McIntosh County. The Public Service Commission had given the project siting approval in 2008. However, it was never built.

But now, the developer has filed a new siting application – and the PSC has scheduled a hearing on it.

Commissioners said some of the proposed wind power projects couldn’t find anyone to buy the power, so they weren’t built.

Courtesy Julie Fedorchak

Cenex is proposing to replace part of a refined fuels pipeline that runs from its Laurel, Montana refinery to Fargo.

The portion to be replaced runs from Sidney, Montana to Minot. It would be upgraded from 8 inch to 10 inch diameter pipeline – at a cost of $160 million. The pipeline carries gasoline and diesel fuel.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said this portion of the pipeline would be re-routed – so it would run from north of Sidney and north of Williston to Minot – crossing the Missouri River in Montana.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group had a good year in 2016 – and its President and CEO believes 2017 will be strong as well.

In 2016, MDU’s construction business – which includes Knife River Construction – earned just under $137 million, while its energy businesses brought in nearly $93 million.

President and CEO David Goodin told the MDU annual stockholders meeting in Bismarck -- MDU Resources Group has focused on its two business platforms – the regulated energy delivery business and construction.

Wind farm warning light change

May 4, 2017
Courtesy Julie Fedorchak

The Public Service Commission has drafted new rules dealing with lights on wind towers.

Right now, most of the towers have blinking red lights – that are on all night. They’re there to keep aircraft away – but neighbors have complained about them. The new rules say new towers have to have “light mitigation technology” – which only turns the lights on when aircraft are in the area.

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