Hoeven, Heitkamp Welcome Interior Secretary Jewell to ND, Showcase State's Robust Energy Development, Good Environmental Stewardship

WILLISTON, N.D. – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp today welcomed U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to North Dakota’s oil patch and accompanied her on a tour of oil production facilities. The purpose of the visit is to showcase how North Dakota is aggressively developing its energy resources and to help the secretary better understand North Dakota’s comprehensive, states-first approach to energy development.

As head of the Interior Department, Secretary Jewell plays a key role in energy development on public and tribal lands, and other issues important to North Dakota and the state’s tribes.

“North Dakota’s states-first approach to energy development under Empower North Dakota has made us the fastest growing state in America,” Hoeven said. “Under the oversight and guidance of competent and experienced state authorities, an all of-the-above strategy to develop both our traditional and renewable resources has helped to produce the lowest unemployment rate and the fastest growing income in the nation. We wanted Secretary Jewell to see the progress we’ve made by deploying new technologies that are producing more energy with better environmental stewardship, and have asked her to partner with us to do the same for America, which will help us to attain the long-sought goal of true North American energy independence for our nation.”

“North Dakota is on the forefront of developing and harnessing our vast natural resources,” said Senator Heitkamp. “We are pursuing advancements in everything from oil, gas, and coal to wind and biofuels. When we say all-of-the-above, we mean it. Our state’s comprehensive energy developments are paving the way towards national energy security and North American Energy independence. Secretary Jewell’s visit provided the Administration a firsthand view of the commitment North Dakota has to responsibly developing all of our natural resources. Secretary Jewell was able to see the rapid progress that we’ve made in North Dakota, and will bring these energy development lessons back to Washington and help drive home the message to the Administration that what we are doing here can be done at a national level.”

“This is an important opportunity to have Secretary Jewell visit our state and learn more about North Dakota’s strategic approach to energy development and the critical role we play in helping the nation continue moving forward to energy independence,” said Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley.

Wrigley helped welcome Secretary Jewell to North Dakota today and accompanied her and senators Hoeven and Heitkamp on a tour of the state’s oil and gas production region.

The senators and Jewell began the day with a tour of a rig operated by Continental Resources, followed in the afternoon by a tour of facilities operated by Statoil, a Norwegian company with more than $4 billion invested in the Bakken and Three Forks plays.

At Statoil, the group was provided with an overview of some of the new technology the company is deploying in the Bakken. They were briefed on the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) extraction process and proposed Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Gas Lift projects. CNG units can capture natural gas as a compressed liquid, which can then be distributed as a cleaner fuel to the field.

They also visited Statoil’s Pyramid production site, located within the city limits of Williston. Statoil has worked to minimize the footprint on the site, using landscaping to improve the visual impression.

The afternoon concluded Tuesday with a briefing and tour of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora.

The senators told Jewell that the Administration needs to help expedite leasing and issuing of permits for oil and gas development on public lands and the Native American reservation. Earlier this year, Hoeven introduced, and Senator Heitkamp cosponsored, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Streamlining Act in the Senate to help streamline oil and gas permitting on federal lands in western North Dakota.

The legislation, which was sponsored in the House by Congressman Kevin Cramer, has now passed both chambers and will go to conference committee to reconcile the two versions. The senators cited this bill as a good example of how to make permitting more efficient, effective and timely.