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Live Analysis: 6th Democratic Presidential Debate

Seven Democratic presidential candidates are debating Thursday night, the smallest group yet. NPR reporters are providing live analysis of the candidates' remarks.

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Filling In The Natural Gas Gaps

Apr 7, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

With the fracking boom ushering in cheap natural gas prices nationwide, nearly 40 states have adopted or are considering new legislation to expand gas service.

Big gaps exist in rural America where natural gas does not reach. These areas rely heavily on propane, with 12 million homes that use it for heating.

One North Dakota town is looking to make the switch, pushing the Legislature for flexibility to craft its own plan to bring in natural gas service.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A natural gas company has paid a $2500 fine for a violation of pipeline safety laws.

Great Plains Natural Gas Company failed to follow a federal rule that says the pipeline must be checked for leaks every 15 months. The line in question runs from Hankinson to Fairmount.

Public Service Commission staff found the violation. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said PSC pipeline inspectors work hand in hand with federal authorities to do these inspections.

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.

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.

North Dakota Public Service Commission chairman Julie Fedorchak says one solution to get natural gas to communities now without gas is to use liquefied natural gas.

Fedorchak says some North Dakota communities are looking at that option. She says one company – Dakota LNG – produces the liquefied natural gas in North Dakota.

"They have excess supply, and are looking for more customers," Fedorchak told the Legislature's interim Economic Impact Committee. "They can truck the liquefied natural gas to the communities, and it then can be vaporized."

Expanding natural gas service in ND

Mar 18, 2016

Some North Dakota business and local government leaders say cities that do not have natural gas services are at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting business, especially manufacturing.

And an interim Legislative committee is studying ways to expand natural gas service to those communities.

"It's starting to rank along with the transportation network, fiber optics, power and affordable energy services as key criteria companies look for when investing in communities," Public Service Commission chairman Julie Fedorchak told the interim Economic Impact Committee.

Some North Dakota cities say not having a natural gas supply is hurting their efforts to attract manufacturing.

"We're basically without a tool if we don't have natural gas," Jamestown economic development director Connie Ova told the Legislature's interim Economic Impact committee.

AARP intervening in MDU natural gas rate case

May 27, 2015

AARP has asked to formally intervene in the MDU natural gas rate case now pending before the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

AARP’s Josh Askvig says the organization has two issues with the current rate case. He says one is the “fixed cost” for delivering natural gas – that is, the basic cost before the actual price of the gas is added.

"In 2013, the fixed charge was $9 a month," said Askvig. "Last year, they raised it to $15 a month. A year later, they're asking to raise it another 40 percent, to $21 a month."

North Dakota and Texas both produce a lot of oil - and they also both burn off a lot of natural gas.

New natural gas processing plant to be built in McKenzie County

Jul 31, 2014

An Oklahoma-based natural gas processing firm has announced it will be building a new processing plant in McKenzie County.

The Demicks Lake plant will process 200 million cubic feet of gas per day. It’ll cost between $605 million and $785 million to build.

"As part of this investment, the partnership will also additional natural gas compression at the partnership's five existing natural gas plants," said OneOK president Terry Spencer. "And we will build 12 miles of natural gas liquids gathering pipeline."