News: EPA chief to discuss water regulations during visit to state   source: Williston Herald  

Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s top administrator, will be visiting North Dakota next week, and the Waters of the U.S. rule making is expected to be a hot topic of conversation. Between agricultural and energy industries and our cultural disposition toward property rights, environmental regulations and rules have big impacts on North Dakota, and it sounds like those are some of the messages that will be carried to Mr. […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Half of Well Productivity Gains May be Due to Core Acreage Drilling, Not Better Frac Designs   source: Oil and Gas 360  

There’s little doubt those operating in the Bakken have gotten more efficient in the past few years. The low prices have forced operators to get costs under control and the end result is an oil play that’s more economically resilient. But what about the wells, are we getting better at getting more oil out of them? On that point, the data isn’t as clear, and one MIT study […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

Commentary: Claims that renewable energy threatens the stability of the US power grid is ludicrous   source: Quartz  

A common argument heard in North Dakota is the need to maintain coal-fired power plants because of their ability to provide the basic baseline power needs of the electrical grid. That we would attach ourselves to arguments that defend an industry important to our state is not surprising; I would say it’s a natural reaction. There is another perspective, though. This commentary from Quartz defends the modernization of […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: A Toxic Legacy: North Dakota Looks To Clean Up Old Oilfield Waste   source: Inside Energy  

One of the considerable by-products of oil production in North Dakota is the extremely salty wastewater we get back along with the oil. It’s not a new problem. And though modern practices inject wastewater deep underground, there are still a number of legacy era brine pits that continue to leach salt water contamination into nearby fields. Amy Sisk with Inside Energy has the story that hits near to […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Worker shortage slows Bakken oil drilling but production remains above 1M barrels per day   source: Bismarck Tribune  

The number of rigs active in North Dakota is holding steady the past few months and production is still above a million barrels per day, but there’s a worker shortage in the fracking industry that’s delaying completion of many already-drilled wells. There’s also some transition taking place in the amount of oil moved by rail which is an expected result of the Dakota Access Pipeline coming online. Amy […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Saskatchewan Rig activity up slightly   source: Estevan Mercury  

We’re used to seeing the U.S. rig count and the increases or decreases in North Dakota, but it’s easy to forget that the northern prairie oil play extends into Canada as well. That gives us a second indicator of optimism in the industry and compared to last year, the Canadians are optimistic about oil futures. In 2016, there were just 16 rigs working in Saskatchewan; on July 10, […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: First tech, now financing: U.S. shale firms get creative to pump more oil   source: Reuters  

Necessity is the mother of invention, and we’ve experienced that first hand here in the North Dakota oil patch. The necessity was to survive an OPEC supply assault intended to force shale operators out of the market with lower prices. The invention was better, more efficient ways to drill. And as the term of the low prices extends, financing the operation seems to be the next part of […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: ND coal studying supply of valuable rare earth elements   source: Bismarck Tribune  

The same geological history that produced North Dakota’s coal history may hold additional value in the form of rare earth elements essential to the electronics and defense industries. Extracting those elements is the challenge, but investment from several government agencies is refining the processes to determine the viability long-term. Jessica Holdman with the Bismarck Tribune has the story.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Western governors back Endangered Species Act, with changes   source: Associated Press  

The Western Governors Association, an association of 22-western Governors, met in Montana recently. Among the topics of business, a discussion and ultimately a resolution in support of the Endangered Species Act with a few caveats. Some of the concerns are that states have a larger voice in the federal decisions that impact them and that once recovered, species that are no longer endangered are removed from the protected […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Oil country eases into break from frantic growth   source: Star Tribune  

Did the oil bust in Western North Dakota? Though we all know it slowed down, it doesn’t seem like ‘bust’ is the correct description. And the same can be said for at least some of the outside media coverage of North Dakota’s new oil reality. This article is passed along to get a sense of what others are saying about us out here.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: How Sweden is pushing toward the seemingly impossible goal of zero emissions   source: Quartz  

Our distant Scandinavian relatives have built themselves some pretty sustainable energy infrastructure, just 5% of Sweden’s energy comes from fossil fuels. But they’ve set an even higher goal — be 100% sustainable by 2045. And the problems they have to solve in order to get there and the manner in which they’re attempting to solve them is fascinating.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky