Hoeven Hosts Senate Energy Committee Chair Ron Wyden, Highlights ND's Comprehensive, States-First Energy Development

State Using New Technologies to Drive More Energy Production with Better Environmental Stewardship

UNDERWOOD, WATFORD CITY, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today welcomed U.S. Senate Energy Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to North Dakota and hosted him on a tour of several of the state’s major energy production facilities. The visit showcased North Dakota’s states-first, all-of-the-above energy policy, which Hoeven said can lead the nation to energy independence within five to seven years.

As chair of the energy committee, Senator Wyden has broad influence over energy policy and development in the United States, including policies governing development on public and tribal lands. Today’s itinerary highlighted the unique partnership between a coal-fired electric plant with an ethanol biorefinery; a model mining reclamation project; a state-of-the-art hydraulic fracturing rig; and a company’s expanding natural gas processing capacity. Senator Hoeven stressed the progress North Dakota has made over the past decade deploying new technologies and taking comprehensive approach to energy development.

“North Dakota has produced jobs, robust economic growth and rising incomes with a comprehensive, pro-growth approach to energy development,” Hoeven said. “Today, we’re the nation’s second largest oil and gas producing state, we contribute 10 percent of America’s crude oil, and we continue to grow our energy economy across the board. That’s why we wanted Senator Wyden to see firsthand how North Dakota’s approach to energy development over the past decade is helping our state develop all of its energy resources in tandem with good environmental stewardship. We can do the same for our county and achieve true North American energy security within five to seven years with a states-first approach in Washington.”

The senators began today’s visit with a tour of the Blue Flint Ethanol biorefinery, developed by Great River Energy and Headwaters Inc., which now produces 65 million gallons a day of ethanol. Located adjacent to Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station power plant, the facility is the first co-located, directly integrated biorefinery in the world. Its combined heat and power design and location help make it one of the most cost-effective, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly plants in the country.

Since the power plant was built, approximately $200 million has been invested in environmental equipment in order to ensure the best available technology. This helps maintain Coal Creek Station’s status as one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the region.

The tour was followed by a visit to Reclamation Hill, a former mine reclaimed and restored to natural condition. All mined land is reclaimed at a cost of $20,000 per acre, with restored cropland required to equal or exceed original production.

Hoeven and Wyden then traveled to Whiting Oil for a presentation on the shale formations in the region by geologist Kathy Neset of Neset Consulting Services, followed by a tour of a Whiting oil rig to review a typical, precision hydraulic-fracturing operation. Whiting holds one of the largest acreage positions in the Bakken in North Dakota, and is the second largest oil producer in the state.

The senators also toured ONEOK Partners’ Garden Creek natural gas processing plant northeast of Watford City, where the company has mounted a major push to reduce flaring and capture more of the accompanying natural gas produced during oil production. ONEOK Partners has two additional plants under construction in the Watford City area adjacent to Garden Creek – the Garden Creek II and Garden Creek III plants – that will be completed during the third quarter 2014 and the first quarter 2015, respectively. The company also recently built two new plants near Williston – the Stateline I and Stateline II plants.

ONEOK Partners has announced investments of approximately $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion through 2015 for growth projects related to resource development in the Williston Basin, including the plants mentioned above. When the announced growth projects are completed by early 2015, ONEOK Partners’ combined natural gas processing capacity in the Williston Basin will increase to 610 million cubic feet per day to help reduce flaring and increase the capture of clean, affordable natural gas.

The day concluded in Watford City with an open roundtable discussion featuring the senators, Bakken community, tribal and industry leaders.

On Saturday morning, Hoeven and Wyden will tour Target Logistics’ crew camp and take a ground tour of energy development in the Watford City area.