Hoeven Meets with Energy Secretary to Plan QER in Bismarck, Push for CHS Loan Application EERC Research, LNG Exports

Senator Proposed Regular Energy Review in His Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven last week met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to push a range of issues important to North Dakota. They include help planning the National Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) meeting scheduled in Bismarck on August 8, advancing Cenex Harvest States’ loan application for a cutting-edge fertilizer plant, LNG exports and the Energy and Environmental Research Center’s (EERC) work to develop commercially viable carbon capture and sequestration technology.

  • National Quadrennial Review

The Department of Energy’s QER meeting in Bismarck will focus on infrastructure constraints in the Williston Basin. The senator proposed such regular, periodic reviews in his Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a comprehensive plan for national energy development. Hoeven has long pushed for a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy plan for the nation similar to Empower North Dakota, the plan he launched a decade ago in North Dakota. Hoeven also discussed holding QERs with President Obama’s former energy advisor, Heather Zichal.

  • Cenex Harvest States’ (CHS’) - Hoeven again sought Moniz’s support in securing a more than $1 billion Advanced Fossil Energy loan guarantee for Cenex Harvest States’ (CHS’) innovative, new fertilizer plant in Spiritwood, North Dakota. As a decision nears, the company needs to focus on its innovative qualities, Hoeven said.

CHS’ plant will use state-of-the-art technology to convert Bakken natural gas into ammonia. Ammonia produced at the plant would help to reduce U.S. farmers’ reliance on foreign sources of fertilizer. The plant is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 592,000 tons per year. The project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 180 long-term jobs. The CHS plant is one of only two fertilizer plants to be built in the United States in the last 30 years.

  • EERC Carbon Capture Research - The senator stressed with the secretary the importance of making Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technology commercially viable. Imposing a strict regulation before the technology is ready to be deployed commercially will drive up the cost of electricity for consumers and adversely impact the economy and job creation.

Hoeven said the work being done at the Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC) on the campus of the University of North Dakota will help to bring down the cost of CCS to make it commercially feasable. The EERC leads the Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, a collaboration of more than 80 U.S. and Canadian stakeholders that are working to take CCS out of the lab and into the field.

The center is seeking more support from DOE for the partnership so it can take on more regional projects. Hoeven is working to arrange a meeting for Moniz with John Harju, associate direct of the EERC, while the director is in the state this week. Hoeven has also worked in his role on the Appropriations Committee to advance applied energy research projects across the country.

  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Permitting - Hoeven also urged Moniz’s to expedite the permitting process at DOE to approve LNG exports terminals. Currently, North Dakota flares $1.5 million of natural gas a day, energy that could be captured and marketed, but we lack the infrastructure to do so. The problem is that the long, expensive DOE approval process necessary to get an export permit. It currently takes 180 to 270 days for the federal government to approve a drilling permit in North Dakota.

Today, a small facility in Alaska, ConocoPhillips’s Kenai LNG terminal, is the only natural-gas export terminal in the U.S. The DOE has given final approval to another in Louisiana, which will begin exporting by the end of 2015. Six more are conditionally approved and another 26 are still under review, the majority of which have waited more than a year for a decision

The senator has introduced the North Atlantic Energy Security Act, a measure that would cut the red tape holding up energy production and infrastructure development, reduce flaring and expedite liquid natural gas (LNG) exports to America’s allies.

Hoeven also offered to introduce an amendment help expedite the process by requiring a national interest determination within a set number of days following completion of the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency. The senator said he will work with the secretary to craft the language in a workable way.