Energy Outlook and Solving Challenges

To say this year has been a record-breaking year for the oil and gas industry is not news;in fact, its becoming rather cliched as increasing production has reached record levels for the past 11 years.
By Tessa Sandstrom | September 21, 2014

To say this year has been a record-breaking year for the oil and gas industry is not news—in fact, it’s becoming rather clichéd as increasing production has reached record levels for the past 11 years and virtually skyrocketed since about 2011. This year’s production, however, is markedly different as our state has surpassed the 1 million barrel daily production mark to become a top producer in not only the nation, but the world.

This is a significant milestone that I touched on in an earlier column, but the milestone and its significance in national and global production and politics will be a topic that will continue to be discussed at the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s 33rd Annual Meeting later this month. Adam Sieminski, administrator for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, will join other industry leaders and experts at the meeting to share his views on the role North Dakota has played in the resurgence of U.S. oil and gas production and the EIA’s outlook for North Dakota’s future production.

As North Dakota’s oil production continues to grow, the state has seen many positive benefits, but it has also brought forth some challenges. This year’s annual meeting will also look at how we can address these challenges and make the Bakken the most efficient, clean and modern oilfield in the world.

Jeff Miller, president of Halliburton, will be the keynote speaker. Halliburton is one of many companies operating in the Bakken that are focused on developing solutions and new technologies to increase efficiencies and enhance production.  Other speakers will focus on other key issues, including the proper treatment and disposal of waste, building more infrastructure, and properly characterizing and handling Bakken crude.

Other challenges to be discussed at this year’s meeting are impacts to communities. A panel of industry experts will explore some of these issues, including impacts to roads and infrastructure and the rapid growth of communities that has resulted in shortages of housing and services. The NDPC will specifically be looking at ways we can inform and activate members to support more oil tax revenues being returned to western communities to help them address some of these issues.

One of the biggest determining factors in being able to help communities with some of these challenges, however, will be a constitutional measure that seeks to divert more than $150 million per year (or nearly $3 million per week) to a special fund for conservation projects. A non-elected board would decide what projects would receive funding, and 75 percent of the fund would be required to be spent per year—whether or not there are worthy projects. With many unfunded roads, schools and services in western North Dakota, the measure, if passed, would introduce even more challenges for communities.

In addition to informing NDPC members and Annual Meeting on these and other issues, there will also be a free education session that will be open to the public. Ron Ness, president of the NDPC, Lynn Helms from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, and Kathy Neset, president of Neset Consulting Service will provide insight into the oil and gas industry, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, oil and gas regulations, and impacts. The session will be held from 3:30-5:00 p.m. MDT on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in the Stark Ballroom at the Astoria Event Center.    
This year’s annual meeting promises to be another great opportunity for learning and networking and we hope you will join us in Dickinson this year.


Author: Tessa Sandstrom
Communications Manager,
North Dakota Petroleum Council