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Construction of the Otter Creek coal mine would significantly boost Montana jobs, household income and tax revenues as the Asian demand for the resource expands, according to an economic impact study conducted by economists Patrick Barkey and Paul Polzin of The University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
According to the report, "The Impact of Otter Creek Coal Development on the Montana Economy," construction of the Otter Creek mine proposed by Arch Coal, new rail development and related infrastructure represents a total investment approaching $1 billion.
Hess Corporation said it may fall short of its predicted daily production of 60,000 barrels a day by the end of 2012, as the company reached 47,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) in April from Bakken production in North Dakota.
North Dakota is not stopping.
North Dakota recently became the second largest oil producer in the nation, having climbed from being the ninth largest producer in 2006. A year from now it could be vying with Texas as the largest, according to Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources.
And, the continued growth of North Dakota's oil patch could soon push the state's population over one million, according to Helms.
For the eighth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the #1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine's annual Best & Worst States Survey. Florida rose one spot to take the #2 rank, while North Carolina slipped to #3. Tennessee remained at #4 while Indiana climbed a spot to capture the #5 rank. CEOs named the worst states to do business as California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan.
Montana ranked 28th – the same position as a year ago.
The Bakken means business for companies in Billings.
Big Sky Economic Development is hosting two 2-day tours of the Bakken area. Flockin' to the Bakken 2.0 is set for June 14-15 and will visit the communities of Sidney and Williston. Bakken: The Montana Experience is set for July 10-11 and will visit the communities of Glendive and Sidney.
Oil companies in the Bakken are continuing to develop innovations that reduce production cost and increase the level of production.
A recent example is that of Slawson Exploration Co. Inc. of Denver that has sought approval for "stacked laterals," claiming it could recover 650,000 barrels of oil from a Mountrail County well in North Dakota that would cost $8.8 million to complete.
Bakken crude oil continues to sell for less than oil from other areas because of transportation issues.
Inadequate pipeline to get the oil to refineries increases the cost of moving it, which impacts the price that buyers are willing to pay for it. That differential averaged $17.14 per barrel for the first three months of 2012, according to one report. Others have reported that it has been as high as 25 percent or $25 a barrel.
MDU Resources Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Bitter Creek Pipelines, LLC, announced an agreement purchasing a 50 percent undivided interest in Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation's natural gas and oil midstream assets near Belfield, N.D. in the Bakken area
The facilities include a newly constructed, state-of-the-industry natural gas processing plant and a natural gas gathering pipeline system connected to the plant. A natural gas residue line that ties into the Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company system (an MDU Resources subsidiary) is also included, along with a crude oil gathering system, a crude oil storage terminal and a crude oil pipeline that connects the terminal to the Bridger Pipeline. Whiting will continue to operate the facilities.
The Belfield natural gas processing plant has an inlet processing capacity of 35 million cubic feet per day. The oil terminal is currently under construction, with completion expected in the third quarter of 2012. It will have a storage capacity of 20,000 barrels of oil
"This transaction is an important step forward in executing our strategy to become more liquids-based in the midstream space," said Terry D. Hildestad, president and chief executive officer of MDU Resources. "As production continues to ramp up and the storage terminal is completed later this year, we will be positioned nicely for the investment to produce accretive earnings and cash flow."
Bitter Creek paid $66 million at closing to acquire its interest in the facilities and will be responsible for 60 percent of certain future capital expenditures as specified in the agreement
"This investment diversifies our operations into midstream gathering and processing of natural gas liquids and crude oil," said Steven L. Bietz, president and chief executive officer of Bitter Creek. "This complements both our expertise in dry gas gathering, transportation and storage, and our asset base in the Bakken."
Oil and natural gas production from Whiting's Pronghorn acreage in Stark and Billings counties, combined with adjacent Stark County acreage owned by Fidelity Exploration & Production Company (an MDU Resources subsidiary), will supply these facilities. Fidelity and Whiting currently have a combined seven rigs operating in the acreage feeding the facilities
"These assets will provide valuable natural gas and crude oil infrastructure for us to capture and process natural gas and allows us to take advantage of more choices to market crude oil," Hildestad said.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103