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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Wednesday
Jan212015

North Dakota Counties Supports "Surge" Funding Bill

Numerous County Commissioners testified 1/16/15 on SB 2103. The bill is designed to release $845 million early so dollars can be used for the spring construction season. The money would be dispersed across the state to cities, counties, schools & townships. The bill had it's first hearing 1/16. No one testified against the bill.

Another bill being considered is Gov. Jack Dalrymple's "jump-start" bill that's pegged at $873 million and part of his overall $3.7 billion proposal to help western North Dakota's oil-producing region address its rapid growth.

The key difference in the fast-track funding bills is the amount of money that would be spent on state highways. The governor's bill sets aside $450 million for state roads.

The bill by Armstrong, whose district is within the state's oil patch, gives no money to state highways but directs all funding to cities, counties, school districts and to communities outside the oil region.

ND committee considers 'surge funding' for infrastructure. Read more...

Monday
Jan052015

Hard times could be ahead for North Dakota's oil boom towns

“We have a little bit of room to go before it really affects us,” he said. The city’s budget for the upcoming year tops $100 million and the state has squirreled away billions in oil revenue into funds it can tap for years to come to pay for future infrastructure, education and legacy projects. “Mainly what they’re telling us is to sit back and take a look at this thing. We were really fast-paced. We had a hard time keeping up. So we think it’s just normalizing.” Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development Authority and Tourism Board, Executive Director

Click here for complete article > Star-Tribune

January 4, 2015

As prices at the pump drop, so do prospects for a happy new year in the Bakken oil fields.

A million barrels of oil a day pump out of North Dakota’s Bakken shale. Oil that used to sell for $100 a barrel and now fetches barely half of that. Oil that pumped billions into the North Dakota economy, drove the state’s unemployment rate down to almost nothing, and turned sleepy farm communities into Wild West boom towns.

The North Dakota oil boom isn’t going bust. Not yet. But with oil prices at a five-year low and dropping, the state is bracing for bad economic news that could ripple far beyond its borders.

“I think we’re going to see a fairly significant correction,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “You’re going to see a tremendous number of pink slips over the next quarter and into the following quarter. And if we’re having this discussion in June, it will be that much more severe.”…

Wednesday
Dec312014

Eastern Alberta: In situ oilsands production reaches new heights in October

All of the oil production in the Alberta HUB region is extracted either by SAGD (steam assisted gravity drain) or by Cold flow wells. Below is a link to an article that details the growth in production as well as capital budgets. Excerpts:

  • According to a report from Calgary investment bank FirstEnergy Capital released Tuesday, total production of non-mined bitumen — from oilsands formations accessed through drilling thermal and cold flow wells — averaged 1.35 million barrels per day, up from 1.3 million in September and 1.31 million in August.
  • The surge came as a result of record output at Cenovus Energy Inc.’s Christina Lake and Foster Creek facilities and first inclusion of production from Devon Energy Corp.’s Jackfish 3 project, which started steaming operations in July and had October output of 3,800 bpd.
  • Three weeks ago, Cenovus unveiled a 2015 capital budget of between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion, down about 15 per cent from 2014, but said it still expects growth of nine per cent in 2015 in oilsands production. Brian Ferguson, president and chief executive, said $2.1 billion is considered committed capital, aimed at sustaining and growth spending at Foster Creek and Christina Lake.
  • It forecast total investment in new Alberta oilsands projects, plus sustaining capital in existing projects, will exceed $514 billion in the 2014-2038 period. Revenue from all existing and new projects will exceed $2.5 trillion.

Click here for complete article > Edmonton Journal

December 30, 2014

Total production of bitumen from wells in northern Alberta’s three oilsands regions jumped to a record high in October as world oil prices slumped to a level 25 per cent below last summer’s peak and then kept falling.

According to a report from Calgary investment bank FirstEnergy Capital released Tuesday, total production of non-mined bitumen — from oilsands formations accessed through drilling thermal and cold flow wells — averaged 1.35 million barrels per day, up from 1.3 million in September and 1.31 million in August.

The surge came as a result of record output at Cenovus Energy Inc.’s Christina Lake and Foster Creek facilities and first inclusion of production from Devon Energy Corp.’s Jackfish 3 project, which started steaming operations in July and had October output of 3,800 bpd…

Monday
Dec222014

North Dakota’s quest not to blow its oil wealth

When the state's legislature reconvenes for its first session in two years this January, it will face a tug of war between the urgent needs of the future and the even more pressing needs of the present. A drive across the state makes this clear: eastern North Dakota, far from the boom, is overflowing with jobs. There, people are looking to the future; state university presidents want to make the state a destination for young, tech-savvy, highly educated workers.

In western North Dakota, the needs are more immediate. The roads are pitted with potholes. Children are homeless. The region needs hospitals, schools, new utility hookups — everything. As much as the state wants to invest in its future, it first has to solve the problems brought on by its unexpected growth.

Click here for complete article > Vox Media

December 11, 2014

Valerie Swensrud used to be a small-town North Dakota postmaster, the kind of job where you know everyone's name. Now retired, she works as a volunteer at the Watford City business center, and every day is filled with strangers and newcomers.

Twelve thousand trucks drive past every day, causing half-mile backups at makeshift traffic lights put up where a stop sign once sufficed. Migrants from Florida, Arizona, and California, drawn by the promise of a boomtown, stop in to ask Swensrud where they can find housing and what it will cost.

She tells them that an apartment in Watford City costs as much as an apartment in Washington, DC. If you keep driving up Highway 85 to Williston, the epicenter of North Dakota's oil boom about 30 miles north of Watford City, it costs even more…

Monday
Dec222014

Colorado county commissioners say they have enough local control over oil and gas

The resolution said local governments can enter into "negotiated, legally-enforceable memorandums of understanding" with oil and gas companies that offer a benefit to the public while allowing energy development.

The state also has a "local government designee" program through with local concerns can be addressed, the resolution said.

The bottom line, according to the resolution, is that "CCI supports the existing statutory and regulatory framework for local authority and does not believe additional clarification is necessary at this time."

Click here for complete article > Denver Business Journal

December 16, 2014

A "significant majority" of Colorado's county commissioners assembled at a statewide meeting in early December approved a resolution saying local governments have sufficient authority to regulate, and collaborate with, the state's oil and gas industry.

That's according to John "Chip" Taylor, executive director of Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), a Denver-based nonprofit representing county officials…

Monday
Dec152014

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway: Emergency manager calls for safety review of Highway 85

Powell said there are inherent problems with the four-lane highway in which the undivided median is used for a turning lane and, illegally, as another passing lane.

Click here for complete article > Bismarck Tribune

December 13, 2014

Karolin Rockvoy, the emergency manager for McKenzie County, says the new four-lane on Highway 85 poses some risks and hazards and she's calling for more safety features.Karolin Rockvoy left the scene of what turned out to be a fatal accident on Highway 85 Tuesday and picked up the phone.

She didn't know then that it was this year's 20th highway death in McKenzie County. The victim of the three-vehicle crash north of Alexander was airlifted out and later died at the hospital.

Rockvoy is the county emergency manager, and her phone calls get answered. She's asking the state Department of Transportation for a safety review of the new stretch of four lanes of Highway 85 from Watford City and past Alexander…

Tuesday
Dec022014

Texas highway money doesn’t always go to highways

Click here for complete article > KXAN

November 26, 2014

Every time you go to the pump you pay for the upkeep and construction of Texas roads. But lawmakers spend millions of your highway money on other things and it’s been happening for years.

Like a lot of us, Jason Beville dreads his drive to work. Music helps him forget about the nine mile, 45 minute trip.

“Here, there’s just too many people in too small a space. It seems like there’s not enough ways to get around. If I want to go downtown, I got to take MoPac or I got to get on Lamar. Either way, it’s a death wish,” said Beville.

Fifteen cents per gallon of gas goes to the State Highway Fund, money intended for road construction projects. However, each year, lawmakers use millions of dollars to pay for other departments. The Department of Public Safety gets the most. But money also goes to employee benefits, the Department of Insurance, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and others. All while the Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says it is billions of dollars in the hole each year…

Wednesday
Nov262014

Cold Lake, AB: Imperial Oil always looking to improve technology

A photo of Imperial Oil's Mahkeses factility located roughly 50 kilometres outside of Cold Lake.Click here for complete article > Bonnyville Nouvelle

November 25, 2014

With the expansion Nabiye project almost complete, Imperial Oil’s Cold Lake operations is set to reach a combined production level of approximately 193,000 barrels of oil per day. 

Nabiye, which is Dené for Otter, will join four other plants – Leming, Maskaw, Mahihkan and Mahkeses – at the company’s Cold Lake operations. Together these facilities, consisting of 4,600 active wells, cover roughly 780 square kilometers of oil sands leases 50 kilometers northwest of Cold Lake.

It was in 2010 when Imperial Oil received regulatory approval to proceed with development of the $2 billion Nabiye project.

After nearly four years of planning research and construction Nabiye is projected to start up production by the end of 2014…