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Excerpts from recent North Dakota editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm •  Published: December 18, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Williston Herald, Williston, Dec. 13, 2014

If the Bakken is busting, just say so

Oil has been in the news a lot in the past month.

Prices are plunging — 40 percent since June — which brings the inevitable question to the surface: Is North Dakota's latest and greatest oil boom going bust?

That all depends who you talk to.

Analysts from one side of the aisle are predicting prices to continue falling, and OPEC's price war squeezing shale producers right out of business.

Others aren't predicting. Instead opting to lay out the groundwork for all situations.

On the other side of the coin, there's massive optimism that prices will rebound to some sort of level that's profitable again.

Somewhere in between are those of us living in middle of the production, the anxiety, the fear and the hope.

It's those of us in the middle of the fray, and in the middle of the available knowledge, who stand to lose and gain the most with oil's future, both immediate and long term.

We want to urge the state regulators, forecasters and analysts to keep that in mind as the picture becomes more clear for the Bakken and its productivity cycle.

If this is really only a slow period, tell us.

If the state has real fears the bubble is bursting — again — tell us.

If nobody has any clue as to what the future holds, and what is happening right now, tell us.

Transparency about the current and future outlook of the Bakken's oil is the only clear answer from here on out.

That's what a good state government would ultimately do for both its people and its businesses.

Here in the oil patch, we've been blessed with many riches and positive changes from the current production cycle.

After Gov. Jack Dalrymple's budget proposal last week, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.

We just hope that light is a sustainable, affordable and more livable city, and not a freight train leaving town with empty oil tankers, on its way back to Texas or Oklahoma.

Shawn Wenko and the staff at Williston Economic Development are doing great work to start pushing Williston beyond a two-pronged economy of oil and agriculture.

We've encouraged the city multiple times now to diversify the local economy, and it's beginning to happen.

It needs to happen.

But our city leaders can only do so much, especially at this point of the process.

They don't have inside tracks to the oil industry. They don't have a crystal ball. And they certainly didn't have time to prepare for the big boom when it happened.

The state and industry don't have a crystal ball either, we understand that much.

But, both should have a better idea of what is truly happening with oil prices and the future of the Bakken as it becomes known.

If the bullish stance is the right one — and we hope it is — then stick with it.

Otherwise, if it's not, give western North Dakota the courtesy of blowing the freight train's whistle before it hits us.


The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Dec. 17, 2014

New transport safety rules a good step

Tighter rules for oil transport were recently passed by the North Dakota State Industrial Commission. The new rules, which take effect on April 1, include transported North Dakota crude oil not exceeding a vapor pressure of 13.7 pounds per square inch.

The Industrial Commission's decision makes concessions to both industry and to those concerned with public safety related to the volatility of Bakken crude transported by rail, but still leaves a level of uncertainty.

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