Industry representatives will work to find solutions to infrastructure needs

Bismarck, N.D. – The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) members have formed a task force to spearhead the industry’s efforts to significantly reduce natural gas flaring in the state’s Bakken oilfields.

“We recognize that natural gas is an efficient, clean and valuable resource, and that’s why the industry has invested more than $6 billion in new pipelines, processing plants and other infrastructure to move it from the wellhead to the marketplace,” said Terry Kovacevich, NDPC chairman and regional vice president for Marathon Oil. “This is a significant investment, but we are committed to making North Dakota the model of a modern, efficient and technology-driven oilfield.”

Since 2007, when the Bakken was confirmed to be a prolific and world-class resource, gas plant capacity has increased by 340 percent from 227 million cubic feet per day to more than 1 billion cubic feet per day. Despite this significant growth, production continues to outpace capacity due partly to challenges in building appropriate infrastructure and partly because it was not until recently that experts began to fully comprehend the volume and composition of natural gas trapped in the Bakken.

“We have to remember that the Bakken is still a very young play, and this is just one factor in why production has outpaced our ability to build the infrastructure needed. Furthermore, the Bakken is unlike any other play in the world and requires solutions specifically tailored to its geology, climate, landscape and resources,” said Kovacevich.

Members of the task force will pool the knowledge and experience of companies operating in the Bakken and identify solutions to better optimize the resource at the wellhead and increase and improve existing infrastructure to transport gas for processing elsewhere. The group will also focus on educating the public and working collaboratively across stakeholder groups, including government agencies, the Three Affiliated Tribes, researchers, landowners and key industry players.

The Flaring Task Force will address the North Dakota Industry Commission (NDIC) at 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2013, and will present a report to the NDIC later this year with recommendations for a collaborative effort to reduce flaring.

“This is a very complex issue without any single simple solution,” said John Paganis, commercial director for Murex Petroleum and co-chair for the Task Force. “Our task force will offer balanced, effective solutions for policy makers and regulators to ensure we keep oil development on pace while making the investments in infrastructure and new technologies to capture more of our natural gas.”

“The member companies of the NDPC want to responsibly develop the natural resources in North Dakota and America.  We also want to optimize the development of our oil and natural gas resources in North Dakota, but this will take significant investments of time and money and will require collaborative efforts between the industry, landowners, government agencies and a number of other key stakeholders,” said Kovacevich. “North Dakotans have a long history of sitting down and working together to find solutions that will meet the needs of all. We are confident that with time, all of the key stakeholders can work together to reach our goals of reducing flaring.”

Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 500 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. For more information, go to

Contact:  Tessa Sandstrom, Communications Manager, North Dakota Petroleum Council
– ### –

North Dakota has pumped up its crude production in August to 914,617 b/d, about 1.1% higher than the revised July output of 904,927 b/d, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

The preliminary July crude output published last month was at 871,459 b/d.

June output was 821,596 b/d, and May production was at 811,262 b/d.

The Bakken crude output makes up more than 90% of North Dakota’s total oil production.

The number of producing wells in August rose to 9,452 from 9,324 in July and 9,096 in June.

North Dakota is the second-largest oil producer in the U.S., with Texas holding on to the No. 1 spot and Alaska third. Bakken crude is playing a growing role in the U.S. coastal refineries’ crude slate as pipelines, rail and ships offer delivery solutions to the once-landlocked crude output.

–Edgar Ang,,
Originally published by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), Gaithersburg, MD. Additional reproduction is strictly prohibited. For more information on other news, contact Scott Berhang, +1 301.287.2332.

The recent “discovery” of the giant Bakken oil field, described as the “largest continuous oil accumulation ever assessed by the US Geological Survey,” bodes fundamental changes for western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Lots of people are coming! Western North Dakota now faces a daunting challenge: building infrastructure that supports a new way of life and culture.

Just ask Don Nickell, president and COO of Nakota Development, LLC. The morning Nakota opened their two Value Place extended-stay hotels in Williston in September 2012, “we had people sitting in their cars in the parking lot, waiting for us to open the doors,” said Nickell.

Since then, Williston Value Place hotels have achieved enviable occupancy rates (>95 percent in August). They have also exceeded their competitors’ occupancy % for the past four months, which is a significant achievement given they have 248 rooms versus their competitor’s properties which average only 90-100 rooms.

Nickell is confident more customers are waiting. He’s in good company. Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, told an audience at the 2012 North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties that western North Dakota can expect about 250,000 additional people settling west of Highway 83 to help produce oil and natural gas.

It’s more than just about oil and gas, however.  Housing and lodging are of particular concern. Mike Anderson, director of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency expects population growth to continue in the state for at least the next 15 to 20 years.

While many thousands of men are today living in temporary man camps, a gaping supply hole remains for those seeking lodging for the many two-to-four-month assignments typical in the Bakken and other shale oil regions.  There are thousands of geologists, landsmen, technicians, engineers, field and construction workers and service personnel in need of housing and lodging.

Nakota Development is already two steps ahead in the game; they acquired the Value Place franchise territory rights for North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.  They promptly built two hotels in Williston and recently completed a third in July in Dickinson.  Nakota has also purchased, or acquired options on additional land for future construction. Their construction of another Value Place recently began in Watford City and is expected to open in spring of 2014.

The master plan, according to Nakota CEO Art Cahoon, is to invest an estimated $200 million over the next five years in the development of twenty new extended stay hotels in the Bakken and other developing US shale oil regions. Nakota’s willingness to take the early equity risks and invest millions of their own money to build their first two hotels and complete them on schedule brought Nakota a rare commodity in the Bakken: CREDIBILITY.

Even today, with credit availability increasing, Nakota continues to invest significant equity in each of its hotels.  Despite the Bakken’s significant construction and operating challenges, including the scarcity of materials and high labor costs, Nakota has established itself as the gold standard developer and operator in the Bakken. “Current investors, which include all of Nakota’s senior management team, are enjoying very attractive returns on their investment,” said Cahoon.

Click to see Value Place in the Oct/Nov Issue of the Bakken Oil Business Journal.

Value Place is the largest economy extended stay franchise in America. The Value Place Brand comes from the management team that created and developed lodging brands such as Residence Inn (now owned by Marriott), Summerfield Suites (Hyatt) and Candlewood Suites (Intercontinental). In 2011, Value Place was recognized again as a Top 50 Franchise by the Franchise Business Review’s 2011 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards.  Value Place was also recognized in USA Today in 2010 as a recession-proof business.

By:  Bob van der Valk

Crude oil prices will continue to weaken regardless on whether the US raises the debt ceiling.  The connection between the value of dollar on the world market had become less of a consequence on commodity prices after the US oil production has been increasing at a fast rate.  WCS Canadian sour crude is being discounted between $25 and & $27 a barrel FOB Alberta as of today.

The importance of the EIA data is like the Federal government shutting down the NSA and not have the intelligence data gathering ability to keep us secure.  The same applies in the petroleum industry with the EIA-DOE report serving as our weekly intelligence report on which important oil and finished products trading and production decisions are made.  Without it we are back in the dark ages on gathering this type of information.  The API report has been a guide but not used in the same way at the weekly EIA-DOE report with the API report being mostly ignored by the big traders.

The weekly EIA-DOE inventory report has been very important and proven the API inventory numbers wrong numerous times.   The difference is in the methodology on gathering the data between the two reports.  The API is Garbage In; Garbage Out (GIGO) with the major oil companies “voluntarily” supplying data whereas the EIA-DOE requires and spells out mandatory figures to be submitted making it more accurate.  API also does not distribute the report without a paid subscription whereas EIA-DOE distributes theirs on their: web site.

Traders use the EIA-DOE inventory report as the “Tale of the Tape” with any changes being taking into account by commodity traders in making their decisions.  They will now be dealing in the dark in making deals.  Any major refinery or pipeline glitches may result in price spikes with traders playing it safe by holding onto barrels they would otherwise be willing to sell.

Oil companies use the report to keep an eye in each other and the EIA-DOE report reveals important data about their competitors they would otherwise not be able to attain legally.  The EIA-DOE report is therefore the guide presenting facts putting rumors to rest on which some of the trades are made.  “Buy on rumors, sell on facts” is the oldest cliché in the trading circle and is alive and well.

During any extended government shutdown we will have more rumors circling around in the petroleum industry without our usual Wednesday morning verification.  Meanwhile the reporting entities are still required to submit their data and we may have an interim report once the shutdown ends.

Bob van der Valk is the Senior Editor of the Bakken Oil Business Journal and can be contacted at:

WILLISTON, N.D. – Dakota Landing, a unique residence hotel designed to meet the growing needs of the Bakken Shale housing market, began welcoming guests September 3

Dakota Landing is proud to support one of the fastest growing cities in the nation by providing extended-stay housing accommodations for our guests that have a welcoming home-away-from-home feel,” said Trevor Gayler, General Manager for Dakota Landing.

Click to see Dakota Landing in the Oct/Nov Issue of the Bakken Oil Business Journal.

The hotel hosts 240 generously-sized single and double rooms, providing all-inclusive amenities for the diverse needs of guests, such as:

  Food Services:  Two Hot Meals a Day, Packed Bag Meals, Hot Breakfast, Lunch Program, Dinner Buffet, Vending Machines
  Business Services:  Dedicated Business Center, Meeting Spaces, Wireless Internet Access
  Recreational Services:  Fitness Center, Pool and Poker Tables, Televisions, Lounge Area with TV
  Convenience Services:  Laundry Services, Ample Parking with Block Heater Hookups, On-Site Security, Indoor Boot Room

Dakota Landing, owned by Bakken Properties, LLC, is located at 5813 Jefferson Lane, Williston, ND 58801.  For more information, reservations, or long-term stay options for Dakota Landing, please call 701-433-1800 or visit

Trust Hospitality, LLC ( is the sales and marketing arm for Dakota Landing.  Inventory spans the globe with a base of properties in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.  At our core, each hotel is as original as a fingerprint but our values and approach are unwavering: the development of each hotel’s identity includes developer and design input, with the destination in mind that is never contrived.

Written by Janelle Holden

In December 2012, 5.19 Sales & Marketing connected communities in Eastern Montana with business leaders looking to launch a first-of-its-kind housing project for oil and gas workers in the Bakken region.

With the guidance of the Eastern Montana Impact Coalition (EMIC) and the commitment of IAP Worldwide Services (IAP), the Eagles Landing Housing Community Project was born.

WP_20130728_002-wJust nine months later Sidney, Montana is now home to phase one of Eagles Landing, a state-of-the-art housing facility that includes 339 beds, private rooms, chef-prepared meals, free daily breakfast, a commercial grade laundry facility, housekeeping services, fitness center, 24-hour security and ample parking.

In this interview, Troy Selland of 5.19 Sales & Marketing shares lessons learned from the project and the secret to creating successful business ventures in the Bakken region.

Janelle: “So Troy, how did this project get started?”
Last December, I flew into Wolf Point, Montana with senior leaders from IAP to meet with EMIC executives. With over 60 years of expertise in remote site operations, IAP was looking for a community in the Bakken region in which to build and operate a multi-million dollar workforce housing community.

We toured six sites across Montana and North Dakota. All of them were potentially a good fit for a large-scale project, but the company was impressed by the opportunities that existed in Montana and how the EMIC represented the region.

Janelle: “Who is IAP Worldwide Services and why were they interested in building?”
IAP specializes in providing temporary housing solutions in remote locations around the world. It’s a company that has the capability to build specialized housing solutions in virtually any environment around the world. In the past, they have worked primarily with government agencies and were looking to expand into the private sector.

Janelle: “I’ve heard that Montana has had trouble in the past winning contracts like these. Is that true and if so, what made the difference here?
Montana has historically lost out on similar opportunities to other oil states such as North Dakota and Texas and the field was open to IAP to build anywhere in the world.

In early 2012, EMIC formed to address community challenges in the Bakken region and they welcomed IAP into the community. The coalition wanted to help solve a regional housing shortage that was persistent, challenging and frustrating.

When they met, the coalition members spoke with one clear voice about their visions, challenges and hopes for a region that is roughly the size of the state of New York.  This made the difference with IAP as it was clear that an opportunity truly did exist for them in Montana.

Janelle: This project was built in record time and it seems like everyone in the community has been happy with the result. How did that happen?
Good communication and great partners. The coalition worked with the company to ensure that every phase of design, planning and construction would address and resolve the community’s concerns and fit with Montana culture.

As a result, Eagles Landing has become home to more than just oil and gas industry personnel. Current and future residents include county employees, policemen, electricians, and even families.

Janelle: What have you learned about doing business from this project?
When I look at the history of this project, I’m proud of Montana for finding a creative way to work with businesses and solve community challenges in the Bakken. The real secret to the success of the project was combining the visionaries of IAP with the local members of the EMIC. Including community input via the coalition and building local support is the secret for businesses looking for long-term success in Montana’s Bakken region.

Troy-Selland_5.19Sales&Marketing-cropTroy Selland is the Founder of 5.19 Sales & Marketing, based in Livingston, Montana. He has over fifteen years of leadership and consulting experience in the commercial airline, ground logistics, and oil and gas sectors. 5.19 Sales and Marketing helps firms of vision find their place, and ultimate success, in today’s unconventional energy industry.

For More Information: 5.19 Sales & Marketing:
Eagles Landing Project:


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Sena, 590-8675

In response to Tom Power’s, “Drill, Baby, Drill”: The Ongoing Economic Fantasy

In light of a recent commentary by Tom Power (former Economics Professor at the University of Montana) it’s apparent that much education is needed on the issue of America’s energy revolution.

Bakken-sky-on-fire-2013Today, Americans are reaping the benefits of readily available, affordable energy. The United States has just been announced the number one energy producer in the world by Wall Street Journal. Last year, families saw energy savings of $1,200 per household thanks to technological advances in unconventional methods of extraction, according to a September IHS report. The Federal Government’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program spent $3.5 billion dollars on 9 million people last year to help pay energy bills, amounting to just under $400 per person. That being said, America’s private energy sector saved families three times more than taxpayer funded government subsidies.

Power points out that oil and gas production have increased three-fold in Montana since 1990. He fails to mention in 1990, production levels were tanking. Tax changes throughout the 90’s, including a production incentive passed by the legislature, stopped the decline & led to an increase in oil and gas production, especially via horizontal wells.

Improved horizontal drilling technology partnered with proven hydraulic fracturing released billions of barrels of oil and gas previously thought to be uneconomic to produce. The production increase led to surpluses of new tax revenues at the state and county levels.

In 1990, state and local tax revenues from oil and gas production totaled just over $30 million dollars for cash starved state and local governments, and schools. Almost twenty years later, in 2008, the total production tax revenue from oil and gas was more than $300 million, with over half that amount returning to the counties for school funding, infrastructure, and public programs. Since 2009, oil and gas production levels have remained relatively constant, providing more than $200 million dollars a year in production taxes alone to the state.

According to Power, Montana’s oil and gas industry “was directly responsible of about one-half of one percent of all jobs in the state” in 2011. As of 2012, Montana’s oil and gas activity actually accounted for roughly 3% of jobs in Montana, or almost 30,000 (direct & indirect jobs) according to economist Patrick Barkey of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Oil producing counties represent the state’s lowest areas of unemployment, according to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. The report from August of this year lists the following Eastern Montana counties at the top of the list; Fallon County, at 1.5%, Richland County comes in second at 2.2%, Sheridan County at 2.2%, McCone County at 2.3%, Carter County 2.3%, Garfield County 2.7%, Wibaux County 2.8%, and Custer Co. at 3%. Compare those numbers to the hardest hit areas; Sanders County at 10.2%, Lincoln County at 12.1% and Big Horn County with the highest unemployment at 14.3%.

Power criticizes the payroll associated with oil and gas jobs, and claims that, “Oil and gas development is not a likely candidate for substantial job creation.” Really?

On the contrary, the Montana Department of Labor classifies natural resource jobs, along with health care and business services, as one of the fastest growing industries in Montana, with a forecasted growth rate of 2.3% between 2014-2021. In terms of wages, Montana’s oil and gas industry paid an average of $56,581 per worker, 75% above the state average in 2012.

One of the most ludicrous statements in Power’s write up, is the assumption that “few people hold up that phenomenon [Eastern Montana oil boom] as an example of how most Montanans would like to live and raise their kids.”

The Montana Petroleum Association has spent the last year on the road and on the phone speaking with families who express the exact opposite sentiment. Many have claimed that without the oil activity, their families “wouldn’t have made it” through the recession. For some, it’s a family affair, with one or more family members working in the oil field; like Robin Schiele of Helena, and his 22 year old son who lives in Missoula, but works in the Bakken.

Before Robin, the family’s patriarch, was hired for a water trucking company in the Williston Basin, the Schiele family, including Robin’s wife and three children, worked 16 hour days caring for lawns just to pay the bills. The Schiele’s are one of many families who’ve said the Bakken opportunities are what saved their family.

As for those living closer to the bulk of the activity, the sentiment’s the same.

At the Montana Economic Development Association’s fall conference on October 3rd in Sidney, Richland County Commissioner Shane Gorder told attendees, “I want to make one thing very clear. I am excited about our economy. I am glad that our children can return home to work in our area. Growth is positive — bringing jobs and opportunities for our communities.”

Last week, Tracy Kessel, a wife and mother living in the oil patch wrote in to the Sidney Herald, “For those of you who are new to our community…Welcome, you couldn’t have picked a better community to be a part of or raise your children.”

After setting the stage to undermine how prolific the recent expansion in energy production has been, Power defends federal agencies, saying, “Whatever federal energy policy has done, it has not restrained energy production in the United States.” The reality is, though, the federal government and environmental agencies have done nothing to increase energy production either, though they love to take credit for the recent success of the private energy sector.

The federal government leases less than 6 percent of its onshore lands for oil and gas development. Under the Obama Administration, the rate of leasing has slowed by about half. According to the Energy Information Administration, in fiscal year 2011, production on federal lands dropped 13 percent from fiscal year 2010 levels, led by a drop in federal offshore production of 17 percent. The majority of oil production on federal lands (around 80 percent) is located in offshore waters. Furthermore, the rate of permitting has also declined by more than one-third.

These facts show that the trend during the current administration has been toward fewer leases and permits for oil and gas drilling and a longer processing time before approval, in contrast to state programs where permits can be obtained in less than a month.

Additionally, federal agencies like Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Bureau of Land Management, are proposing widespread conservation efforts throughout western states which will have a direct negative impact on current and future development.

In Montana, the BLM has released three resource management plans that call for millions of acres to be restricted from oil and gas leases along the Hi-line and in Eastern Montana. The lack of consideration for the economic impact these management plans would have on Montana’s workforce and budget is egregious. Though new management areas will require funding, BLM Director of Montana/Dakotas, Jamie Connell, says she doesn’t know where new money will come from (Sept. 26th TSRIA meeting, Big Sky).

The record is clear that the current administration under President Obama has been a poor steward of our national energy supplies and our economic security. Take the five year delay on the Keystone XL pipeline approval, for example, which is a project that would provide thousands of U.S. jobs, including ample work for labor unions.

Power’s efforts to downplay the economic contribution of oil and gas to state economies is laughable, but what’s worse, is that he completely misses the point of advocating for multiple use access to federal lands.

Our government is at a standstill because of a massive debt problem and the inability of Congress to agree on how to manage the budget. Last year alone, oil and gas production contributed $283 billion in GDP and $74 billion to state and federal revenues, including more than $200 million to Montana’s general fund (in production taxes alone).

A 5% increase in Montana drilling activity would create 366 more direct jobs, 1,025 indirect jobs, and over $20 million a year in additional state and federal revenue.

As the largest economic driver since the recession, the energy sector is poised to help the federal government alleviate the debt crisis; the opportunity to do so might be a “fantasy”…but the ability…that is a reality.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 1.40.16 PMThe Montana Petroleum Report provides information of interest to Montanans. We encourage you to forward this to your friends. — Dave Galt, Executive Director

By Mark Barnes, Des-Case Corporation
Based on a Customer Testimonial by Jim Pezoldt, Lubrication Engineers, Inc.

From dozers to graders and loaders to haul trucks, diesel engines are everywhere. For companies that rely on diesel power to make their living, there’s no greater emphasis than diesel engine reliability. But when it comes to diesel engines, they also have some of the shortest life expectancies.

Compared to fixed equipment, where mean-time-between-rebuilds is measured in years, most diesel engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) recommend an engine overhaul or rebuild every 12,000 to 15,000 hours. Even with oil analysis, which allows the rebuild interval to be optimized, 20,000 to 25,000 hours is about as good as it gets for engine life in off-highway applications.

So why is it that an engine has such a short life expectancy? The issue is less about maintenance than it is about the operating conditions and environment of a typical engine. With temperatures close to 200 degrees F, severe duty and shock loads, internal contaminants like soot, acids and wear debris, and the possibility of fuel or glycol leaks, engines have a tough life.

But perhaps the biggest engine killer is external contamination in the form of dust and dirt sucked into the engine through the air intake each minute of operation. Particle contamination can be lethal for engines –even microscopic particles no bigger than a red blood cell can result in a significant reduction in an engine’s life expectancy. In fact, studies by General Motors, Cummins Inc., and other engine OEMs have proven that particles in the 0–to–5 and 5–to–10 micron size ranges are three times more likely to cause wear in critical piston rings and bearings than larger particles (Figure 1). To put that into context, particles that are less than a tenth of the diameter of a human hair are enough to reduce an engine’s life expectancy by one half or more! These particles, which are often called silt-sized particles, are so small that a large percentage of those ingested into the engine air intake manifold pass straight through the air filter, which, by comparison, is really only equipped to take out rocks and boulders.

WearRate_GraphFigure 1: Relative wear rates for engine rings and bearings versus particle size distribution (Ref: Cummins, Inc.).

Armed with these facts–which are widely known by OEMs, lubrication engineers and filter manufacturers alike–why is it that most full-flow engine oil filters are at best 70 percent efficient at removing 10 micron particles and are effectively useless at removing silt-sized particles? The answer is largely a question of flow. With any filter, there is always a balance between flow rate and filter efficiency. With most filters, as the micron rating and filter efficiency improves, the flow rate drops off significantly. This should be fairly obvious: the smaller pore sizes necessary to trap smaller particles create a greater barrier to oil flow. But the problem is exacerbated by simple physics: For most mechanical filters, halving the micron rating, say from 10 to 5 microns, would require a fourfold increase in filter surface area to maintain the same flow rate. Because of this and due in part to the physical limitations in the size of an engine filter, it is almost impossible for filter manufacturers to reduce the micronrating to be more efficient at removing silt-sized particles while maintaining adequate flow rates.

So that’s it, right? We’re stuck with accepting the fact that the most harmful particles to an engine are going to be present in an engine with no hope of removing them? Wrong! By thinking outside the box a little, silt particles can be removed from engines effectively, with a dramatic impact on engine life. To illustrate the effect, consider the following example:

fig2_graphFigure 2: Projected engine life, with oil analysis.

Case Study
A maintenance team at a 25,000-acre surface coal mining operation in Montana was seeking to improve profitability by lowering direct maintenance costs and extending the operational life of the engines. They were well aware that the service life of their engines was being cut short by particles that the OEM fullflow filtration was not designed to remove. They contacted Jim Pezoldt from Lubrication Engineers to help them improve their engine life. Starting with their CAT 992G bucket loaders equipped with CAT 3508B engines, the mine developed an approach to reduce silt-sized particles from the engines. Initial oil analysis data on one 992G in the mine’s fleet indicated a particle count of 22/21/18, with copper and iron levels at 118ppm and 53ppm respectively, levels commonly found across the rest of the fleet. Maintenance personnel also indicated that a typical engine “top end” overhaul interval was approximately every 12,000 hours, and when engines were torn down, they were typically very dirty inside with evidence of scuffing on the cylinders. The team set about lowering in-service contamination levels through an aggressive contamination control strategy, as well as switching to an enhanced diesel engine oil – LE’s Monolec Ultra® Engine Oil (8800).

figure3_graphFigure 3: Schematic illustration of engine oil side stream filtration.

Exactly 931 hours after improving their oil filtration, an oil analysis was conducted to evaluate if any improvements had been made in oil cleanliness. To their surprise, ISO cleanliness levels went from 22/21/18 (c) to 17/16/13 (c), soot levels were maintained at or below 0.1% volume and iron levels dropped from 53ppm to 7ppm. Based on this and the standard life-extension tables (Figure 2), the mine has projected a four-fold life extension, resulting in a savings of $129K over five years, equivalent to a 216 percent return on their investment (Table 1). This is just one of many examples that demonstrate the effect of improving slit particles in engines.

table1_graphTable 1: Oil analysis data and investment analysis for CAT 992G (3508B engine).

Bypass Filtration
So how did they do it? The answer is fairly straightforward as illustrated in Figure 3. Without changing the flow of oil within the engine, a small slipstream of oil is taken after the full-flow filter using a flow control valve. By regulating oil flow through the valve, only 10 percent of the total oil flow is removed at any given time, which is not high enough to cause any harm to the engine. This side stream of oil is passed at normal engine oil pressure through a depth media filter with an efficiency rating of 99.9 percent at 3 microns (β3(c)>1000). The oil is then returned to the sump. For safety, a relief valve is included to avoid over pressurization of the bypass filter during start-up.

Engine overhaul and rebuilds are a significant cost to diesel engine maintenance budgets. With few exceptions, significant improvement in engine life can be achieved by controlling silt-sized contaminants.

uptime-article_pezoldt-2authorsNote: Originally published in the December 2011 issue of Uptime magazine. Bypass Filtration Lubrication consultant Jim Pezoldt, MLT I & MLA II, has represented Lubrication Engineers, Inc. since 1992. His company, Pezoldt Petroleum Products, services portions of Montana and North Dakota and has significant experience working with mining and drilling operations.


U.S. OIL BOOM podcast Interview of  Bob van der Valk, Senior Editor of the Bakken Oil Business Journal, by Brandon DeShaw, PE, Lab Director, Global Energy Laboratories

I recently chatted with a man that I’ll refer to as the “Yoda” of the U.S. Oil boom.
You remember Yoda from the Star Wars movies, right?
  • Spoke in riddles…
  • Elderly and ancient…
  • Hidden humor…
  • Extremely wise…
  • Um, well my guy didn’t really speak in riddles.
But he was very wise and had some fantastic insight into the current shale oil boom going on here in the U.S.

This guy is also a highly paid consultant and gives guidance on where fuel prices are headed.

He is the editor and chief guru for the Bakken Oil Business Journal.

His name is Bob van der Valk, and you can actually listen to all his guidance and the interview that I did.
Yes, I finally have published my first podcast episode, and I’m giving you backstage access before I post it on my website.

I interviewed Bob on topics like the next big oil play (hint: it’s in California of all places). We also talked about how to work your way into the oil business.

He talked about where fuel prices are headed in late 2013, and many other topics that will be interesting to you.

Here is the link to the interview:
If you go there, you can click on the title and the podcast should autoplay. Or you can hit the download link on that page.

Oh yeah, by the way it’s complimentary. I don’t even sell anything (yet) on the podcast.
It should also be listed on iTunes soon, if you want to go there and search for “oil boom” podcast.

Anyway, this interview was a real gem, and I wanted you to get first “dibs” on it.

Thank you,
Brandon DeShaw, PE
Lab Director
Global Energy Laboratories
200 Technology Way
Butte, MT


image008By Robyn L. Erlenbush,
See NAI/ERA Landmark in the Oct/Nov issue of the Bakken Oil Business Journal

One of the more challenging personal experiences I had during the “Great Recession of 2008-2011” was watching hard working families in Southwestern Montana lose their homes to short sales and foreclosures. Through circumstances not of their own choosing, many lost jobs, had medical challenges, or could not find work, and they were left with no choice but to walk away from their homes. As I spent many hours listening to their stories and trying to advise them on options, I felt like a grief counselor, watching the different stages of emotion – first denial, then anger, sadness and finally acceptance. For many, their personal identity and self-worth was attached to where they lived and how they kept their home. Their family unit was defined by their street address. We sold countless distressed homes that were left in perfect condition down to murals on the children’s bedroom walls and well-tended gardens.

ERA Nai Landmark Real Estate

This property was listed for $3,625,000 in 2009.  We re-listed  it for a national bank for $1,499,900.  Sold at auction at undisclosed price.

There were three glimmers of hope that caused many Montana homeowners to live to see another day. First, the economic mini-boom of 2008 (The Big Hail Storm) helped put many unemployed construction workers back on roofs to bring in enough income to cover house payments. We experienced another mini-boom in 2010 (Big Hail Storm #2) with broken windows, marred siding, and destroyed roofs adding up to big business for workers and construction related industries. The third saving grace for many of the unemployed was the robust job market in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. We are finally experiencing positive strides in our local job market with Gallatin County’s 2012 annual unemployment rate down to 5.3% after a high of 6.5% in 2010. This follows the trend of the statewide 2012 rate at 6.0% down from 6.8% in 2010. Even more impressive is Richland County’s data, which is from eastern Montana including Sidney, where 2012 weighed in at 2.7% last year.

In the Bozeman and surrounding areas during in the time period between January 2007 and December 2012, there were 320 short sales and 386 foreclosures reported through our MLS data. This includes single family homes, condos and townhomes in the Bozeman area, Park County, Big Sky and west to Three Forks. These numbers are most likely lower than the actual amount since mandatory reporting of these categories did not exist for the entire time period. Furthermore, many of these sales can take place on the courthouse steps or between private parties. So where are some of these previous homeowners and what are their options for future ownership? Well, many have moved back to the Gallatin Valley and are gainfully employed in a booming construction industry. And as far as their opportunity to buy a home, the outlook continues to improve.

In the ever changing world of mortgage lending, it is often hard to keep up to date. As recently as mid-July, the headlines were full of information about “Boomerang Buyers” – people who lost their homes due to short sales, foreclosures, and bankruptcy and were just beginning to show a presence in the real estate market once again. At that time, Realtor Magazine anticipated that almost one in five sales in the metro Phoenix area (one of the hardest hit short sale and foreclosure markets nationwide) was a boomerang buyer. These buyers worked on saving down payments and want to own again before interest rates and housing prices gain momentum. Typically, buyers needed to wait 5 to 7 years before even considering applying for a new mortgage. Those who participated in a short sale generally had a shorter wait than foreclosures.


Skip ahead to mid-August to captions such as “Boomerang Homebuyers Get a Shorter Ride Home.” On August 15, 2013, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) made changes in its guidelines for those who lost their homes due to financial stresses. The new rules under “Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances” have reduced the amount of time to be eligible for financing from 36 months to as few as 12 months for many. If the boomerang buyers can provide documentation that a “specific Economic Event” caused a 20% or greater decline in their income for at least 6 months which resulted in a short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy, they may be back on the road to home ownership. Buyers must be able to show that the hardship was a one-time event which is not likely to happen again and proof of stability for the prior 12 months must be provided. For those whose losses were truly due to the status of the economy versus personal financial choices, this is extremely good news in that they may be able to become homeowners again sooner than anticipated.

Among the frequently asked questions is where to start this process. The first step is to find an FHA-approved lender and check mortgage rates. The lender will require documentation of the 20% loss of household income; therefore, if only one wage earner had decreased income, the household may not be eligible. The loan size is only dictated by the local area’s FHA loan limit. Borrowers must take a housing counseling course. Once many of these first steps are completed, it is time to start house shopping – though the program will be in effect until September 30, 2016.


Robyn L. Erlenbush is a third-generation Montanan who lives in Bozeman, MT. She is the broker/owner of ERA Landmark Real Estate (with offices in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston and Clyde Park), NAI Landmark Commercial and Intermountain Property Management. She can be reached at