A few days before the latest Big Sky Honor Flight took off for Washington, DC, Roland Engdahl was in the emergency room.  Being part of the Big Sky Honor Flight to view the WWII Memorial was his last wish, but they never thought he would make it.  Well, he did, and his grandkids travelled from across the country to meet him in Washington, DC.

I was there for the trip and saw the grandkids’ salute first hand. Click below for the full story.

Aaron Flint is the host of the popular statewide talk radio show “Voices of Montana.” In addition, he serves as the editor of the daily online news and commentary blog “The Flint Report,” recognized by The Washington Post as “one of the best state-based political blogs.” Aaron has also been listed by The Washington Post as one of the best state based political reporters. His work has been featured nationally by the Fox Business Network, The Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Politico and others.

He has deep Montana roots, since his father’s family homesteaded near Flathead Lake, and his mother’s family goes back four generations in Glasgow. While in fourth grade Aaron recalls stuffing newspapers for The Glasgow Courier, which for years was published and edited by his grandparents, Ron and Joan Helland.

As an officer in Montana’s Army National Guard, Aaron served three military tours overseas, in 2005-06 as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Ramadi, Iraq, and later in 2008-09 as an embedded advisor with the Afghan National Police at COP Wilderness in Afghanistan. Most recently, he deployed to the Horn of Africa.

Flint’s journalistic experience began as a journalism student at Howard University. He later received a BA degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Montana where he served as President of the Associated Students. He also worked for two years as a Policy Advisor on the Washington staff of U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. Flint’s broadcast career includes work with Montana Public Radio, a runner for the NBC News “Today” show at the 2004 National Political Conventions, an internship with Bloomberg TV and Radio in Washington, DC, and as Executive Producer and Reporter with KTVQ-2 Television (CBS) in Billings.

Flint enjoys combining his real world background and Montana roots, with a love for journalism, saying, “Every day, I hope to take a wide range of experiences to show audiences the bigger picture, or to give them a side of the story they won’t get anywhere else”.

Aaron and his wife Jessica have two young boys, and a baby girl born during his recent deployment overseas.

John Driscoll in running for the US House of Representatives for Montana and recently visited with the Bakken Oil Business Senior Editor to share his views on the future for energy in the Big Sky State.

He said he was surprised and delighted to discover crude oil is being shipped from the Bakken by rail to the Columbia River, and then transported by ship to West Coast refineries in California.  It has effectually displaced crude oil which would otherwise have to be imported from Saudi Arabia and other regions in the Middle East and North Africa.

BOBJ Pentagon 9-11 attach diagramHe was posted at the Pentagon and serving his third and final tour of duty as a US Army Colonel, working as a Joint Staff Officer for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the 9-11 terrorist attacks.  A few days afterwards he noted on a post incident survey required of those receiving combat pay:  “I was standing just an estimated 100 feet in front of the American Airlines Flight 77 plane after it came to rest in the depths of the building.   On the first deck, a few feet to the right of Corridor 4, I later observed a 20-foot hole blasted through the inner wall of the C Ring, just a few feet from where I was nearly knocked off my feet on the first deck in Corridor 4 at the B Ring.”

He further stated it was a close call and after over 12 years it’s hard to forget 19 out of 20 terrorists were Saudi nationals who hijacked and flew our planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

He encourages President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to help address a complex set of challenges we will face in meeting our national energy requirements.  There is need to work together in order to be able to minimize the human, environmental and financial costs of getting the US onto a more secure source of crude oil.

He pointed out there is a need to move quickly beyond the Keystone XL pipeline decision and make plans to build another pipeline, crossing the US-Canadian Border at Sunburst, Montana, upgrading north of the Marias River, accepting Bakken from along the alternate (Tioga) route, proposed by the State of Montana and BLM for the Northern Tier Pipeline, and flowing down the CANAMEX (I-15) corridor to West Coast refineries.

Montanans are capable protectors of Montana’s environment and will bring their environmental stewardship and our personal individual rights to a clean and healthful environment in solving the problems certain to be identified.  This will aid the safer, more efficient and environmentally benign transport of crude oil via pipeline.

His focus will be to encourage efficient development, distribution and use of fossil fuel energy, as the transition to alternate energy resources.

This will assist in freeing up national capital from supporting forward deployment of US military forces to countries with governments hostile to the US.  Private capital can accelerate changing over thermoelectric plants to above 50% conversion efficiency, since they will still have to rely on base-load coal for the intermediate term. Wind, hydro and natural gas energy will have to be integrated on a situational basis as well.

Over the long run the US needs aim toward a robust electricity infrastructure of upgraded transmission lines, including more outside linemen, and high speed electric passenger rail along our Interstate highways, integrated with plug-in hybrid and electric motor vehicles.

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Chevron Gas station prices, unleaded gas $4.53 with Super unleaded at 4.69 on the corner of La Crescenta Ave. and Honolulu Ave. in Montrose, Ca on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

Southland gas prices have risen dramatically in recent days, and one industry expert figures they’ll remain above $4 a gallon until September.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Los Angeles County was $4.30 Wednesday, up 17 cents from a week ago and up 26 cents from a month ago, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

California’s average price for regular was $4.19 a gallon Wednesday, topped only by Hawaii’s average price of $4.32 a gallon.

“I think it will level off now, but prices won’t fall below $4 a gallon until September,” said Bob van der Valk, senior editor for the Bakken Oil Business Journal. “It’s because of the lack of supply … there’s just no backup supply.”

Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, linked the price hikes to several factors.

“Most of our refineries should be through with the turnaround maintenance that’s involved when they convert from winter-grade to summer-grade gas,” he said. “But two refineries — the Chevron refinery in El Segundo and the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance — will still be down for a couple more weeks.”

Van der Valk said the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez is also experiencing problems. Those issues have served to reduce California’s supply of gasoline. Refineries are also exporting more gas overseas, Spring said, which further erodes California’s in-state supply. Spring also noted that ethanol costs have risen because producers are having a hard time getting enough tanker cars to move their product by rail.

“Many of those cars have been diverted to move oil from the Bakken Reserve in North Dakota,” he said. California has 20 refineries that collectively produce about 42 million gallons of gas per day.

The state’s refineries produced more than 6.4 million barrels of gas for in-state use for the week that ended April 4, according to the California Energy Commission. That was down 4.1 percent from the previous week but up 2.3 percent from the same period a year ago.

Production of non-California gas for export rose 35.8 percent for the week that ended April 4 to more than 1 million barrels, the commission reported. Year-over-year production of gas for export rose 19.5 percent.

Despite the price spike, business was brisk at the Woodland Hills 76 Station at the northwest corner of Topanga Canyon and Burbank boulevards on Wednesday where regular was flowing at $4.30 a gallon, midgrade at $4.39, premium at $4.48 and diesel at $4.00.

Drivers were mildly surprised to discover this fill-up was going to cost more than the last one but realized it’s become a common occurrence this time of year.

Canoga Park residents Scott and Ilene Hastie, heading to the beach with their two grandchildren, were filling the tank of their 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser. “It’s still going,” said Ilene Hastie as the dollars continued rolling on the pump’s counter. The bill eventually came to $86.91 cents. “It usually doesn’t cost this much,” she said.

Ilene Hastie and husband Scott finish filling up their Toyota Land Cruiser stopping on their way to the beach at a gas station in Woodland Hills. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)


Woodland Hills resident Dean Atkinson, a general contractor, was topping off his Chevy Silverado truck with diesel when the pump’s meter hit $95.

“This truck, I get about 12 miles to the gallon if I’m pulling a trailer. If the wind is behind you, you might get 15,” said Atkinson, who spends about $1,000 a month on fuel for the Chevy and a Toyota Tacoma. He had just returned from a trade show in Las Vegas and towed a 21-foot trailer. The fuel tab for that trip was about $300.

He’s got a cost-cutting plan.

“It’s at the point now where I will drive the smaller truck when I can. That one gets about 22 miles to the gallon,” he said.

Woodland Hills resident Allen Rivas, who works behind the counter, said that prices there actually down from Tuesday after rising about 20 cents in the last week or so.

No one has complained, he said.

“Nobody. They need it,” he said of the fuel.

Don Garrison is also feeling the squeeze. Garrison, who owns Simply Discount Furniture in Santa Clarita, said his company makes about 50 deliveries a week throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley, Ventura and Los Angeles.

“It’s definitely affected us, but we haven’t passed that along to our customers yet,” he said. “We’re trying to absorb the costs to keep our prices down. But it really depends on the amount of time that the prices stay up. If they stay up for say a month … then we’ll have to adjust our delivery charge.”

Playa del Rey Florists is losing money on its deliveries, owner Lance Williams said. The company does about 130 deliveries a week.

“It’s very hard because it comes so fast and there’s nothing you can do to really plan for it,” he said. “It’s almost a non-recoupable item because there is only so much someone is willing to pay for delivery.”

On Tuesday, the cheapest Los Angeles-area price could be found at an Arco station at 15705 Nordhoff St. in North Hills, which posted regular at $3.98 a gallon. But prices at some of the region’s other outlets were alarmingly high.

A Chevron station in Los Angeles and a Mobil station in North Hollywood both were selling regular for $5.19 a gallon. And scores of other locations listed regular at $4.89 or higher.

Kevin Smith“We really didn’t think prices would get this high,” Spring said. “We’ll just have to hang on tight to our wallets because we’re over $4 a gallon by a significant amount.”

Reach the author at Kevin.Smith@sgvn.com or follow Kevin on Twitter: @SGVNBiz. Retrieved: http://www.presstelegram.com/business/20140416/los-angeles-gas-prices-soar-above-4-only-hawaii-pays-more

Keystone XL pipeline routeWe, at the Bakken Oil Business Journal, offer our unambiguous support of a project important to meeting American energy needs, the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed 1,179 mile, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that goes through a number of states and provinces on its route south, including Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada, and Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska in the U.S. Along with transporting crude oil from Canada, the Keystone XL Pipeline will transport oil from producers in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and North Dakota.

Building awareness of the need for smart policy about our land and waters and how drilling impacts them isn’t an easy sell in a state whose residents continue to derive so much personal financial benefit from the oil and gas industry.

In the matter of Keystone, the environmental lobby is just plain wrong, as it is a safe and needed addition to America’s network of pipelines that gets oil to market. And there is precious little evidence to the contrary.

Until alternative fuel sources become competitive in availability and cost with our existing carbon-based mainstream supply, we have little choice but to rely on fossil fuels. This pesky fact just can’t be denied. Surely, we hope that time will come sooner rather than later, and we heartily support government funding of innovation to speed arrival of that day. But even the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic of environmentalists know that day is not right around the corner.

In the meantime, regardless of the worldwide climate crisis in which we’re fully engaged, it’s in our collective interest to facilitate America’s relentless need for the oil that runs our cars, heats and cools our homes and powers our factories. The Keystone will facilitate this by getting oil extracted from the buried sands of our friendly Canadian neighbor, down to our U.S. refineries to be converted to gasoline and related products.

Recent, objective studies show Keystone to be the safest, most environmentally secure and least expensive means to get the product to market. And now that the U.S. State Department has announced it found no major basis to oppose the project after an intensive and long-awaited review, it’s time for President Obama to provide his needed seal of approval.

Television and Radio talk show host Sean Hannity will give keynote address
By Tessa Sandstrom

“The Best is Yet to Come!”

This was the promise from the 2012 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference (WBPC) when it was last held in Bismarck. The slogan, of course, spoke about the potential of the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan and the tremendous economic and career opportunities it brings to our region. With the WBPC now just weeks away, however, that slogan could also apply to this year’s conference, with more than 400 exhibitors and a great line-up of speakers signed up to attend.

The 2012 conference sold out in a record time of 17 minutes, but that record was eclipsed this January when booth space sold out within four minutes and more than 800 people were still online trying to secure their space. Hotel rooms for Bismarck-Mandan are already booked, and this year is promising to be the largest WBPC yet.
It’s no wonder; the Bakken continues to draw national and international attention, with reporters, ambassadors and leaders visiting from countries like Japan, Norway, Australia, India, Germany and others as the Bakken has helped make North Dakota a Cinderella Story of sorts. Where our state once only topped the lists of states with the largest outmigration of young people or states with the oldest population, North Dakota has now found itself atop lists ranking the best states for young people, the best states for job creation, and the happiest states.

HANNITY PHOTODespite being more than eight years into what is often called the Bakken “Boom” (a boom it is not, but rather a continually growing play and industry), this limelight and attention is still a rather new phenomenon for North Dakota, which was once cast aside as nothing more than a flyover state or a buffalo commons. Now, we continue to attract renowned journalists and commentators, including television and radio personality, Sean Hannity. After interviewing Billings County Commissioner and industry leader Jim Arthaud of MBI Energy Services on his radio program, Sean Hannity agreed to see the Bakken for himself and will be the keynote speaker at this year’s WBPC. Arthaud personally invited Hannity to the conference to be a keynote speaker and will also host Hannity on a tour of the Bakken.

Hannity has often highlighted North Dakota on his show and in his blog as an example for the nation in creating jobs, growing our economy, and moving us toward energy independence. “Unleash our resources. Unleash the ingenuity of American innovators. Unleash the work ethic of Americans desperate to work hard and earn a good living. We have the ability to be a thriving nation,” he wrote. And, as we will see and learn from many of the speakers at this year’s WBPC, that’s exactly what we’ve done in North Dakota and will continue to do.

As a well-known speaker, journalist, author and political commentator, Hannity has no doubt traveled the nation. We are excited to hear Hannity’s perspective about how our little state of North Dakota and our neighbors, Montana and Saskatchewan, are making a difference throughout the nation and even the world. We also look forward to introducing him to the many men and women who have helped develop the Bakken through technology and innovation that has helped make the Williston Basin a leader in the national energy renaissance, bringing us closer to energy security and reviving the American Dream.

Hannity, of course, is not our only well-known and renowned speaker. Also joining him will be some of the energy leaders themselves, including Continental CEO Harold Hamm, Oasis Petroleum CEO Tommy Nusz, Marathon CEO Lee Tillman, and Whiting Petroleum CEO Jim Volker who will discuss the industry’s future in North Dakota. More than 70 other speakers will addressing topics covering Bakken pipeline and rail infrastructure, impacts, flaring technologies, Bakken optimization, geology and more.

While all of these great talks will be open only to WBPC attendees, new to this year’s conference will be two Bakken Education Sessions. These sessions will be held at the Ramkota Ballroom and are free and open to the public. Ron Ness of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, Kathy Neset, a geologist and owner of Neset Consulting Service, and Alison Ritter of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources will each give presentations on the basics of Bakken geology, drilling, and hydraulic fracturing and take questions from the audience. Two separate sessions will be held Tuesday, May 20, with one beginning at 1:30 p.m. and another beginning at 3:30 p.m., and we encourage the public to come and learn more about this burgeoning industry.

For more information about the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, visit www.wbpcnd.org.

Infograph by Hart Energy
Retrieved April 8, 2014

The Bakken is one of North America’s largest oil-rich shale plays. Longer horizontal well bores and widespread use of hydraulic fracturing spurred soaring production. North Dakota now ranks second among U.S. oil-producing states – and a large portion of the domestic drilling rig fleet will be retrofitted to walking or skidding systems by year-end. More than 70% of Bakken oil moves by rail tank car, giving crude-by-rail the leading role for getting Bakken production to market. Economic impacts are seen state-wide as North Dakota proudly claims the nation’s lowest unemployment and a per-person gross domestic output significantly higher than the national average.

The Burgeoning Bakken, to learn more about the Bakken shale play and whats happening in the different shale plays visit the Unconventional Oil and Gas Center, a Hart Energy publication.