Large wind farm project planned for Barnes County

Jul 21, 2016

A big new wind farm is proposed for Barnes County.

It would be 300 megawatts, and it would be called the “Glacier Ridge Wind Farm.” It would be on 34,450 acres about five miles northeast of Valley City. And it would consist of up to 87 turbines.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has just received the application.

Natural gas flaring ticks upward

Jul 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The flaring of natural gas spiked upward in May.

It’s back up to 11-and-a-half percent.

"There are a couple of reasons," said State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. "Natural gas production went up, and there was no additional processing or gathering capacity ready to take that up."

Production rose to 1,643,522 MCF per day, from April's 1,616,769 MCF per day.

Helms said the Hess Tioga gas plant ran only at 74 percent of capacity. He said that’s because of a delay in a project that would bring natural gas from south of Lake Sakakawea to that plant.

Wind farm in the Bakken under construction

Jul 5, 2016

It’s been several years since it was first proposed – but a 150 megawatt wind farm near Tioga is now under construction.

The Lindahl wind project will cost $220 million to build.

It will be owned by Enel Green Power North America. It’s Enel’s first North Dakota wind project.

"This project begain about eight years ago, with a group of motivated landowners who had an interest in starting their own wind farm," said Enel Senior manager of business development Conor Branch. He says in 2014, the landowners sold the project to Tradewind Energy, Enel’s development partner.

Helms: 'Brexit' may delay a recovery in the Bakken

Jun 29, 2016

Global markets are showing some uncertainty – because of the vote in England to leave the European Union.

Oil prices were not immune – dropping to under $50 a barrel.

What does that mean for the Bakken?

"It postpones these 90-day windows and 'price points' for the oil industry," said state mineral resources director Lynn Helms. "We're still solidly in the price window for work-over rigs that are working on the 1600 inactive wells. But it puts us further away from the price point that generates hydraulic fracturuing activity."

'Oliver III' wind farm approved by PSC

Jun 23, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a 100 megawatt wind farm that will be in Morton and Oliver counties.

“Oliver III” is the third wind farm for  the area that will be built by NextEra. “Oliver I” and “Oliver II” are in Oliver County – while “Oliver III” will be almost completely in Morton County. The new wind farm will have up to 48 turbines. The price tag: $153 million. A new associated high voltage power line will cost another $11 million.

Western energy states see unemployment jump

Jun 21, 2016

Several western states whose economies depend heavily on the fossil fuel industry have seen major jumps in unemployment. Inside Energy’s Amy Sisk has more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Colorado’s unemployment rate went up significantly in May. Over the past year, rates in Wyoming and North Dakota grew faster than any other state. Plummeting prices for coal, oil and natural gas hit workers hard. In Wyoming.

Dave Thompson

North Dakota’s oil production continues to drop.

It took a relatively big hit from March to April.

But the news isn’t all bad.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms holds a monthly “Director’s Cut” briefing. The one today was for the month of April. He likes to have a theme for those briefings – and this month’s theme was…

“The good, the bad and the ugly.”

Dave Thompson

The federal deputy assistant secretary for clean coal and carbon management says he believes fossil fuels will be a part of the nation’s energy mix for years to come.

David Mohler spoke to the annual “Mid-America Regulatory Conference” in Bismarck. He was formerly with Duke Energy.

In an interview, Mohler said that would include all forms of carbon-based fuels, including coal.

"I've been in the business long enough now to see cycles," Mohler said. "Today, everyone's building natural gas for electricity generation, because natural gas is so cheap."

With the help of a few more delegates from a handful of states, including North Dakota, Donald Trump  finally gathered enough to clinch the Republican nomination.

And with that news, the official Republican Presidential nominee rolled into Bismarck Thursday.

Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson has this report.

Trump addressed the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference for nearly an hour, laying out his thoughts on the future of U.S. energy. He  came out strong.

“President Obama has done everything he can to get in the way of American energy for whatever reason. “

Helms: 2017 'getting better' for oil

May 26, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms says the oil industry consensus is – 2017 will be a better year for the industry.

But Helms says it won’t be robust.

"Still less than 50 drilling rigs (in the Bakken)."

Helms says by 2018, the industry will likely start adding drilling rigs back to North Dakota.

"By 2019 and 2020, it should be back to the races."

And that means production will grow.