As oil production rises in the Bakken, so does the production of natural gas.

The problem is -- just over 30 percent of the natural gas produced in the Bakken is flared.

Statoil VP: "We're here for the long haul"

Nov 20, 2012

A Norwegian oil company has become a big player in the Bakken.

Statoil purchased Brigham Exploration’s Bakken assets about a year ago. Now, it’s producing 50-thousand barrels per day, and is currently running 14 to 16 drilling rigs.

Torstein Hole is Statoil’s senior vice president for development and production in North America. He says Statoil is in it for the long run.

Community colleges working to train energy workforce

Nov 14, 2012

Five North Dakota state and tribal colleges are sharing in a federal grant to create the “Trend” consortium.

“Trend” stands for “Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota.” It’s funded by a $14.6 million grant from the US Department of Labor. The colleges – including Bismarck State College, Williston State College, Fort Berthold Community College, Sitting Bull College and the Turtle Mountain Community College, are participating in the “Trend” consortium.

Norway's petroleum minister visiting ND

Nov 6, 2012

Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy is in North Dakota.
Ola Borten Moe will visit western North Dakota – and will meet with
some of the industry and government leaders while he’s here.

"I hope to see the activities in the Bakken field with my own eyes," said Borten Moe. "I may be better able to understand what's happening in the Bakken and the American energy sector."

Young station to roll out new clean coal technology

Oct 15, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

For years, scientists and power companies have looked for ways to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The companies have installed scrubbers. But they don’t take care of some of the emissions, such as mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide.

The owners of the Milton R. Young power station near Center are trying something new to help cut down on those emissions. As Prairie Public’s Dave Thompson reports, the new technique uses chemicals to reduce emissions.

Natural gas power plants coming to ND?

Oct 15, 2012

Montana Dakota Utilities has filed a site request for its proposed 88-megawatt natural gas fired power plant.

The site is next to the existing Heskett coal-fired plant, just north of Mandan.

"The idea is to start construction next year, so that the plant is in operation by the peak demand of summer, 2015," said MDU spokesman Mark Hanson.

New nitrogen fertilizer plant planned for Spiritwood

Sep 13, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Plans are in the works for a nitrogen fertilizer plant to be built near Jamestown.

CHS, Incorporated – a farmer-owned cooperative – says it wants to build the plant at Spiritwood. It would be a $1.1  to $1.4 billion facility, using North Dakota natural gas to make anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers.

"This would be a significant strategic investment for CHS," said Cooperative CEO Carl Casale. "It's the largest investment in the history of CHS. And we believe it would insure a consistent domestic nitrogen fertilizer supply for our farmer-owners."

Divided PSC okays CapX 2020 power line near Fargo

Sep 13, 2012

The Public Service Commission has approved the route of a new 345 kilovolt power line in eastern North Dakota.

The line is part of the CapX-2020 project. It’s designed to improve reliability for power customers in the Red River Valley. The line will cross the Red River just north of Oxbow, and runs south of Horace and north of Davenport, where it veers north to a new substation to be built north of Mapleton.

The Commission vote was two to one.  Commissioner Kevin Cramer was the lone "no" vote.

Xcel suggesting 'performance based' electric rates

Aug 20, 2012

Xcel Energy has a proposal before the North Dakota Public Service Commission concerning electrical reliability.

Xcel is proposing “performance based rates.” It would be rewarded for cutting down on the number of power outages that were NOT caused by bad weather. In turn, the company would have to rebate $50 to customers if there were more than three non-weather-related  outages.

Water project serving the oil patch expanding

Jul 31, 2012

It's another sign of the growth in the oil patch.

The state Water Commission has approved an expansion of the Western Area Water Supply project. That project will bring Missouri River water to residents and businesses in the patch.

As originally proposed to the 2011 Legislature, the project would be able to borrow up to $110 million from the Bank of North Dakota. Because of population growth, the project has grown to $119-million. The extra $9 million dollars will be paid for directly from users.