- Associated Press - Sunday, September 28, 2014

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Steve McNally, the general manager for North Dakota at Hess Corporation, remembers seeing the anxious faces of elected officials and residents when he first arrived to the state in 2012.

He came from Jakarta where he served as president and general manager of Hess Indonesia. He had more than three decades of worldwide experience in the oil and gas industry, and was then settling into the Bakken. The panicked faces reflected financial hardships, the lack of infrastructure and solutions to problems facing the rampantly growing communities.

“Today I don’t see any panic whatsoever,” McNally told the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties on Sept. 18. “This process we’re going through is very consistent when you’re going through these booms.”

Hess is headquartered in New York City with international offices, but has deep roots in western North Dakota, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1pdxiFU ) reported.

The massive oil and gas producer drilled the first state well in 1951, and then built the Tioga Gas Plant in 1954. The company completed its $1.5 billion expansion of the plant in May, doubling its operation capacity.

Today, Hess has 650,000 net acres in the Bakken, which is expected to become its single biggest contributor to its production growth over the next five years, McNally said. With 17 drilling rigs and expects this year’s production to average 80,000 to 90,000 barrels of oil per day.

McNally told city and county officials in the audience not to approach the Legislature with frustration and emotion, but rather present a solid business approach showing their needs in western North Dakota.

“We want to see the state be developed in a responsible, safe fashion, too,” McNally said.

Williston City Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl served as the moderator for the “Outlook from the Industry” panel, which included representatives from Hess, Enbridge, Statoil and ONEOK.

“The corporate partnerships we development are very critical to our Legislature,” Bekkedahl said.

Company reps said they have worked on fine-tuning their oil and natural gas production, gas capturing and transportation capabilities throughout the state.

In 2006, Norwegian-based energy giant Statoil had the challenge of making economic wells in McKenzie and Williams counties, said Russ Rankin, regional manager in North Dakota. The company now has 290,000 net acres in the Bakken, and has struggled with a troubling shortage of workforce in the region to better service its growing needs in the Williston Basin.

“Statoil operates a number of the 22 rigs in Williston’s city limits, and the company has stepped up and put in place great safety and aesthetic effects,” Bekkedahl said. “The company has stepped up and put in place great safety and aesthetic effects.”

In an effort to reduce statewide flaring, Statoil recently announced it plans to widen its natural gas capture plan, starting earlier this year in partnership with General Electric and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels to use gas that would otherwise be burned off. The program allows natural gas to be captured at well sites, compressed, cleaned and delivered by trucks directly to all six of the company’s drilling rigs where it could be used to fuel the machinery.

Oklahoma-based ONEOK, the largest natural gas gatherer and processor in the Williston Basin, has also announced efforts to reduce flaring with $4 billion in projects through 2016, said Danette Welsh, governmental affairs manager for North Dakota.

ONEOK’s Williston Basin natural gas processing capacity now exceeds 500 million cubic feet per day, fivefold of its total in 2010, Welsh said. With the completion of several high-capacity processing plants, the company expects to increase that figure to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day by the Q3 2016.

Another large part of the shale play, Canadian transportation company Enbridge exports about 475,000 barrels of oil per day by pipeline and rail, said Katie Haarsager, community relations adviser. With its proposed 610-mile Sandpiper Pipeline, it expects to handle up to 225,000 bpd from Tioga to Clearbrook, Minnesota and 375,000 bpd to Superior, Wisconsin, Haarsager said. The $2.6 billion project has received approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, but has experienced hesitancy from Minnesota and Wisconsin officials. Still, the company wants construction to start by late 2014, with an in-service date of Q1 2016.


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide