Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford pose with business leaders following a news conference to announce plans for development of a hydrogen industry in North Dakota.
Development Could Involve DGC in Beulah
Plans were announced at a Capitol news conference this week to to create a world-class clean hydrogen hub in North Dakota, which could involve acquisition and re-development of the Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah.
The project is led by a partnership between Bakken Energy, LLC, formerly Bakken Midstream Natural Gas and Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc. Bakken Energy Founder and Chairman Steve Lebow believes hydrogen will become a big part of North Dakota's energy industry.
Click here to listen to Lebow's comments.
The company would produce "blue hydrogen," which is made by splitting hydrogen out of natural gas (methane), leaving behind carbon dioxide which could be sequestered underground or used for other purposes, including enhanced oil recovery. Bakken Energy CEO Mike Hopkins said the partners plan to create "a world class, clean hydrogen hub in North Dakota.
Click here to listen to Hopkins' comments.
Hopkins said developing infrastructure for hydrogen enables decarbonization of sectors such as energy, agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing that are targeting net zero carbon emissions, which aligns with a challenge issued by Gov. Doug Burgum last month (see article in May 14 newsletter).
Mitsubishi CEO Paul Browning said his company has "gone all-in on the idea of de-carbonizing energy." Up to this point, he said Mitsubishi has been engaged in "green hydrogen" projects, which use the electricity from renewable energy facilities to produce hydrogen through electrolysis.
Click here to listen to Browning's comments.
Browning said a green hydrogen agreement supported by the Governors of Utah and California will help de-carbonize the electric power supply for the City of Los Angeles.
Mitsubishi and Bakken Energy are in negotiation with Basin Electric, ower Cooperative and its subsidiary Dakota Gasification Company on the potential acquisition and redevelopment of the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, which could make it the largest producer of clean hydrogen in North America. Basin CEO Paul Sukut emphasized that the deal was not yet done, but said he was excited about the possibility of producing a carbon-free fuel at the plant, and for the opportunity it could provide to current employees.
Click here to listen to Sukut's comments.
Company officials were asked if they planned to use natural gas from the synfuels plant or Bakken gas via a new pipeline. The response was "both."
Several automobile manufactures are making cars that run on hydrogen fuel including Honda, Toyota and Hyundai.
Connects Tioga Plant to Northern Border
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its approval this week to a pipeline expansion project that will move up to 250 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Tioga to a new interconnect with the Northern Border Pipeline in McKenzie County.
FERC granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity to WBI Energy, Inc. for its North Bakken Expansion project. It includes construction of 62 miles of 24-inch natural gas pipeline and 20 miles of 12-inch natural gas pipeline. The project will also include a new 3,750 horsepower compressor station (Elkhorn Creek Compressor Station) in McKenzie County and the addition of 11,250 horsepower at WBI's existing Tioga Compressor Station in Williams County.
"We appreciate the FERC's action on our certificate request, and the bipartisan support at both the state and federal levels that we received on the project," said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources, the parent company of WBI. "Pipelines remain the safest way to move natural gas around the country, and this project is vital to capturing natural gas that is produced — and currently flared — as an associated product of oil production in the Bakken."
The work is expected to cost about $260 million and, during peak construction, will employ up to 450 people.
"The FERC certificate is a major milestone for the project," said Trevor J. Hastings, president and CEO of WBI Energy. "Our team is eager to begin construction as soon as we receive our notice to proceed from the FERC. With receipt of the notice within the next 30 days, as anticipated, and favorable weather during construction, we expect to complete the expansion project and have it in service by the end of the year."
Click here to view a WBI fact sheet and map of the project.
County Considering Requested Changes
The Mercer County Commission voted this week to send a proposed wind ordinance back to the county's planning and zoning commission for further work.
Commissioner Marv Schwehr, who made the motion to reject the ordinance in its current form, said several changes have been suggested, including a couple in a letter from Capitol Power, which has proposed building a wind farm in northern Mercer County. Schwehr, who was a member of the planning group that drafted the ordinance, said a lot of work has already gone into the document, but feels it needs additional scrutiny.
Click here to listen to Schwehr's comments.
One of the suggested changes was brought before the commission at its Wednesday meeting. Hazen resident Anna Novak, whose husband works in the lignite industry, asked the county to require that a wind company have a purchase power agreement (PPA) with a utility prior to issuing a conditional use permit for a wind farm. The current version of the draft ordinance would require the wind company to produce a PPA within six months of receiving a permit. Novak said the change should be made because the county owes it to its residents to protect the interests of its largest employers.
Click here to listen to Novak's comments.
Novak cited the action of neighboring McLean County, which enacted changes to its ordinances that preserved the value of the direct current transmission line from Coal Creek Station to the Twin Cities area. Great River Energy announced its intentions last year to shut down the plant by the end of 2022, and had to replace the generation with wind farms, using use the DC line to transmit the power. But Novak pointed out the county's action stopped the plan, and now with reports that a company may purchase the plant and keep it open, hundreds of jobs will be saved.
Click here to listen to Novak's comments.
Mercer County is home to three coal-fired power plants, as well as the Great Plains Synfuels plant, which uses coal to produce natural gas. Click here to read more about the energy-producing facilities located in the county.
Decisions Create National Security Risk
In an op-ed published by Fox News, Senator Kevin Cramer accuses the Biden Administration of putting America's national security at risk with his decision to block U.S. pipelines, while lifting sanctions on a Russian pipeline project.
"It’s hard to miss the irony in President Joe Biden’s recent decision to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to move forward with completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a fossil fuel infrastructure project that will solidify Russia’s natural gas monopoly in Europe," Cramer wrote.
Cramer characterizes the decision as a "gift to Putin," which comes on the heels of a ransomware attack by Russian hackers on Colonial Pipeline, shutting down infrastructure that supplies 45% of U.S. fuel needs along the East Coast. He said Biden's actions are a signal to U.S. adversaries that they need not worry about the Biden administration punishing "governments that allow economic warfare against America to be waged from their soil.
Click here to listen to Cramer's comments.
Cramer said thanks to Biden, Russia will be able to hold European nations hostage in a future conflict. If one of the countries dependent on Russia for natural gas refuses to comply with Putin's demands, he could turn off the heat in the dead of winter and get the answer he wants.
Cramer said the Biden administration is also in active negotiations with Iran to lift sanctions that would allow the America-hating nation to export more oil to the world. The mainstream media has largely ignored the talks with Iran and Biden's action on the Russian pipeline, which frustrates Cramer because he believe the American people deserve answers.
Click here to listen to Cramer's comments.
Cramer has introduced legislation the would re-impose the bipartisan sanctions against Russia that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Trump signed in December 2019.
Cramer made his comments during an interview this morning on the radio program, What's on Your Mind. Click here to listen to the full interview. Click here to read Cramer's op-ed published by Fox News.
Appointee Has Experience in Healthcare Issues
Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed Nathan Davis of Belcourt to serve as executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.
Davis has served as District 1 Council Representative of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa since December 2018, representing tribal members on the local, state and federal levels. During that time, he has assisted in the efforts of a multimillion-dollar recovery center, managed the purchase and design of a tribal mobile health unit, and served as the tribal health liaison for the tribal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. He replaces Scott Davis, who resigned at the end of April to take a position with Sanford Health.
“Nathan Davis brings the leadership experience and bridge-building skills we need to continue fostering tribal engagement and strengthening our state-tribal relationships built on mutual understanding and respect,” Burgum said. “His passion for improving the health, education and well-being of the members of the five tribal nations with whom we share geography will serve all of North Dakota’s citizens well.”
Davis has served as vice chairman of BlueChip Financial, an economic arm of the tribe; as a board member of United Tribes of North Dakota; and on the board of directors of United Tribes Technical College. He also has served on the United Tribes Gaming Association, as secretary for the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, and on the boards of the Oyate Health Center, Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee, and the federal Administration for Children and Families.
Davis will join the governor's staff on or before July 1.
North Dakota's director of the Department of Transportation has been elected president of the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.
Bill Panos, who previously served as WASHTO vice president, took over duties from president James Bass of the Texas Department of Transportation effective June 1.
"It is an honor to take on greater responsibility and represent our regional transportation partners," said Panos. "My goal is to keep the momentum we experienced under the leadership of Mr. Bass and continue to look for innovative solutions to better serve our industry."
WASHTO provides a forum for exchanging ideas, exploring and adapting techniques, as well as promoting quality and best practices for implementation. It includes departments of transportation from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Washington.
Panos also serves on the board of directors of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, as the governor’s highway safety representative, and as a Henry Toll Fellow with the Council of State Governments.
For more information on WASHTO, click here.
Info on Pending Williams County Applications
The Western Dakota Energy Association will host an informational meeting to give the public an opportunity to learn more about two pending applications for the disposal of TENORM waste in Williams County.
The meeting, which will have no formal program, is scheduled June 16 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at The ARC in Williston. Two companies -- Secure Energy and WISCO -- have submitted applications to the county for a conditional use permit to operate a landfill to dispose of TENORM (Technologically-Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material). The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold public hearings on the applications the following evening, June 17.
Both Secure and WISCO will have company representatives on hand at The ARC to explain their operational plans, as well as the safety and environmental measures they employ to protect the public. The Department of Environmental Quality will also be in attendance at the informational meeting to answer the public's questions about the solid waste permitting process, landfill construction and operation, and inspection and monitoring requirements.
Representatives from the Department of Mineral Resources and the ND Petroleum Council will also attend to share information about future drilling and production expectations, and the volume of TENORM likely to be generated as a result of industry processing operations. The low-level radioactive material in TENORM is found in nature, but is concentrated by industrial processes to a level that requires special handling and disposal. Most of the TENORM now produced in North Dakota is shipped to a landfill in Montana, but regulatory changes there have increased the urgency of finding an in-state disposal solution.
WDEA, along with the Vision West ND Consortium, will also have representatives at the June 16 meeting to answer questions, including details of a study prepared for WDEA about TENORM disposal options (see article in July 24, 2020 newsletter).
Effort Aimed at Reducing Traffic Fatalities
The ND Department of Transportation has issued a reminder to drivers traveling the state this summer to be aware of the state’s established Safety Corridors.
A safety corridor is a designated section of highway that includes enhanced safety features and an increase in law enforcement to remind drivers they're responsible for obeying all traffic laws and posted speed limits. The corridors use signage indicating reduced speed, no-passing zones, information about road conditions, and reminders to buckle up, drive sober, and distraction-free. They may also include pavement markings that are more visible, especially in dark or wet conditions.
Corridor are located on highways with a higher number of vehicle crashes including:
- US 85 Watford City to ND 68: 14-mile Safety Corridor
- US 52 Brooks Junction to Velva: 35-mile Safety Corridor
- US 83 Bismarck to Washburn: 36-mile Safety Corridor
Safety corridors were implemented on North Dakota highways as a part of the Vision Zero plan to help reach the goal of zero fatalities on North Dakota roads. The reminder is part of Summer H.E.A.T. (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) and Vision Zero to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. Summer H.E.A.T. will take place through August to encourage everyone to wear a seat belt, use appropriate child passenger safety seats, follow all posted speed limits, and drive sober and distraction-free.
Several Options Offered through FSA
Producers who are experiencing drought-related challenges will have an opportunity to learn more about the programs the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has to offer during a webinar that North Dakota State University Extension and the North Dakota FSA are hosting on Monday, June 7, at 11 a.m. Central time.
“Drought presents many tough challenges for farms and ranches,” says Brian Haugen, acting state executive director for the North Dakota FSA. “FSA administers programs that can offer a range of services and programs to help anticipate, survive and recover from drought conditions.”
The webinar will provide information and guidance for producers on the following drought assistance programs:
- Conservation Reserve Program emergency haying and grazing
- Disaster declarations
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)
- Emergency loans
- Livestock Forage Program (LFP)
- Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
- NDSU livestock forage calculator demonstration
"This a good opportunity for North Dakota ag producers to learn about federal programs that can help them get through the extreme drought conditions many producers are facing," says Ron Haugen, NDSU Extension farm management specialist. "There are many helpful resources available and this will allow farmers and ranchers an opportunity to find out more."
Applications Now Being Accepted
The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation Scholarship Fund was established last year by local businesses and individuals to support graduating high school seniors living within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
The FBIR Scholarship Fund has a goal of awarding multiple annual scholarships of $1,000 each.
Fund supporters announced this week that they are now taking applications for the program. Applications must be completed online by June 20. Scholarships can be used for any formalized continuing education after high school.
Click here to view the available scholarships and all the requirements for the FBIR Scholarship Fund.
Click here to submit an application.
Vision West Endowment Taking Applications
Applications for the next round of grants from the Vision West ND Foundation are now being accepted.
The Foundation Committee has made $8,000 available to fund community or organization projects. In the last round, grant awards ranged from $1,000 to $1,500. The deadline for submission is June 30.
The Vision West ND Foundation created the grant program to support the activities of the areas served by the consortium. There are two funds:
- A project-oriented non-endowed account established so funds can be easily accessed for projects and operations.
- A sustaining endowment established to use the interest earned to serve communities over the long term.
The mission is to award grants that contribute to the well-being of the communities within the Vision West ND region. All consortium members in good standing are eligible to apply.
Click here to view the community grants process and the grant criteria.
Event to Recognize "Learning Reimagined"
The fifth annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education, aimed at inspiring innovation and reimagining learning in schools across North Dakota, will be held June 7 at the Bismarck Event Center.
The summit will be followed June 8-11 with what is being billed as Ignite ND, a four-day program that offers educators an opportunity to discover creative solutions, network with experts from the field and "light a spark for future transformation."
This year’s summit will include an emphasis on computer science in K-12 classrooms, and a focus on accelerating learning as the education system recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The June 7 summit is free to attend. Click here to see the agenda or to register.
IgniteND, to be held at Bismarck State College is part of a cooperative effort focused on innovative education and inspiring a love of life-long learning. It represents a professional development opportunity featuring numerous hands-on workshops for educators. Registration is $99.00 for the four days, and the fee covers all meals, lodging in campus dorms (if requested) and evening opportunities.
NDPC Partnering with Univ of Mary on Effort
The ND Petroleum Council is partnering with the University of Mary Workforce Development Department and Envision Partners to launch a Leadership and Management Certification Program.
The program provides rising and current leaders with a professional development experience. All nine courses in the program are complemented by executive coaching sessions for those choosing to complete the entire series. The classes will be delivered through distance learning via the Zoom platform. The University of Mary will award participants with a Leadership and Management Plaque upon successful completion of all courses. Participants can also pick and choose courses and take them a la carte.
The first class focuses on Environmental, Social & Governance Training, a hot topic for the fossil fuel industry, which is threatened by the inexplicable lack of investment in an essential resource. The second class involves the transition from peer to manager. Many companies want to reward their "rock star" employees through internal promotion, but there are pitfalls which the class will explore.
2021 Class Topics & Dates (all times CDT)
- Peer to Manager – June 15 or June 17: 1 -5 pm (4-hour training)
- Engaging Leader – June 23, 30, July 7, 14: 1– 5 pm (2-day training)
- Conflict Management – Aug 17 or 19: 1 – 5 pm (4-hour training)
- Emerging Leader – Sept 1, 8, 15, 22: 1 – 5 pm (2-day training)
- Delegation – Sept 28 or 30: 1 – 5 pm (4-hour training)
- Strategic Leader – Oct 6, 13, 20, 27: 1 – 5 pm (2-day training)
- Inclusion & Diversity – Nov 9, 23, 30, Dec 7: 1 – 5 pm (2-day training)
- Effective Workplace Communication – Dec 14 or 16: 1 – 5 pm (4-hour training)
For more information including cost of registration, click here.
- New EPA head warned about “one size fits all” by ND leaders -- KFYR-TV
- EPA leader sees 'huge potential' for carbon capture in ND -- Bismarck Tribune
- TENORM meetings are coming up for two special waste landfills -- Williston Herald
- ND energy contemplates how to achieve carbon neutral goal -- Bismarck Tribune
- Company to build renewable diesel, jet fuel plant by Trenton -- Williston Herald
- Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline enters critical month in June -- Associated Press
- Bill Gates' next generation nuclear reactor to be built in Wyoming -- Reuters
- Devon Energy celebrates golden anniversary -- Dickinson Press
- FMWF Chamber to host its first Midwest Energy Summit -- GF Herald
- MDU Resources rejoins Fortune 500 after decade-long absence -- Associated Press
- WEA, D7 School Board move toward agreement but roadblocks remain -- KFYR-TV
- Water limits for parts of north-central, northwest North Dakota -- KFYR-TV
- Jobs finally starting to outnumber seekers in Williston region -- Williston Herald
- Counties in northwestern ND preparing for big fair season -- KFYR-TV
- Mercer Co. State's Attorney Jessica Binder announces resignation -- Beulah Beacon
- ND Tourism hoping that 2021 is a rebound year for traveling -- Prairie Public Radio
- Objections raised to Ft Peck flows during growing season to save sturgeon -- Williston Herald
- Dickinson City Council approves reorganization of police department -- Dickinson Press
- First responders fire up the grill in 9th Annual Bakken BBQ -- Dickinson Press
- OPEC to boost oil output as economies recover, prices rise -- Associated Press
- Biden climate order with undermine US financial stability -- Real Clear Energy
- Opinion: Biden's coming war on farmers, dust regs in the works -- Washington Times
- Opinion: American Petroleum Institute’s abject surrender and ignominious defeat -- CFACT
- Biden administration's new problem: Rising solar panel prices -- IER
- Challengers unseat third Exxon board member in climate fight -- Associated Press
- There is no climate emergency, we love CO2 and so should you -- Washington Times
Factoid of the Week
Virtual and In-Person
Bismarck State College
Eagle Ridge Golf Course and The Links of ND
Bismarck and Washburn
June 4, 2021
WTI Crude: $69.62
Brent Crude: $71.89
Natural Gas: $3.10
North Dakota Active Oil Rigs: 21 (Down 1) 6/4/2020 -- 12 rigs