Click here & be heard by US Secretary John Kerry. … do it right now, it only takes 30-seconds.

Please approve the Keystone XL pipeline as quickly as possible. Every day we continue to delay this important piece of U.S. energy infrastructure inhibits our economic growth and weakens American security.

As a military veteran and a well-known supporter of military personnel, veterans and their families, you understand the importance of protecting our national security. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would directly enhance America’s security, diminishing our dependence on unfriendly foreign oil states and strengthening our relationship with our next-door neighbor and longtime ally, Canada.

The full Keystone XL pipeline would bring in an additional 830,000 barrels of North American oil per day, reducing our need to import oil from places like the Middle East. With Keystone XL, our crude imports from Canada could reach 4 million barrels per day by 2020, twice the amount we now import from the Persian Gulf.

Canada will develop and market their oil reserves regardless of what we do about Keystone XL. It just makes sense to approve this pipeline and bring that fuel to the U.S., to grow our economy, provide jobs for our workers and power our businesses and homes. Americans have waited nearly five years for this pipeline to be approved and for America’s government to increase our energy security. After all the delays, it is time to act.

For almost three decades you exhibited strong leadership in the U.S. Senate. Bring that same leadership to the Department of State and approve the Keystone XL pipeline without delay.

What Opportunity Looks Like: Big Mountain meets the Bakken

“The Bakken has definitely been a huge help and a huge source of revenue to us.”

For many Montanans the Bakken boom has provided a plethora of opportunities. For the Gearhart family of Whitefish, the growth in the oil patch has meant growth in their family-owned business, Big Mountain Glass (BMG).

The company, owned by Chris and Kathy Gearheart, has been in Montana for 41 years and has provided commercial glazing on projects such as the Metra in Billings, the new UM Native American Studies Center in Missoula, the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, and the Whitefish Emergency Service Center, to name a few. BMG has twelve full time employees, including son and MSU graduate Scott Gearhart. Scott’s the Commercial Project Manager for the company. Scott’s wife is a full time nurse, and works part time at Big Mountain Glass as well. They also have a seven year old daughter.

With a degree in Construction and Engineering Technology from Bozeman, Scott explained that working for the family business was always part of the plan, saying that it only took a few years of working outside of Montana to realize it was where he wanted to return to work and raise his family.

Before the downturn in the local economy, says Scott, Big Mountain had twenty one full time employees. With the recent resurgence of job opportunities in North Dakota and Eastern Montana, however, he said, “The Bakken has definitely been a huge help and a huge source of revenue to us.”

The first Bakken project for Big Mountain Glass started three years ago. The Gearharts’ business has done everything from small glass instillation projects for schools, strip malls, and NAPA stores in Watford City and around Williston, to a couple of large scale projects in Dickinson and Bismarck.

“We were actually sought out to bid the penitentiary expansion job in Bismarck,” said Scott. Big Mountain not only bid the job, they won it. “This is a major project of over a million dollars in glass,” said Scott. Some of the other large scale projects they’ve worked on include housing complexes for Halliburton. Big Mountain is also waiting to hear back on a medical clinic job they bid recently in Dickinson.

Scott explains that compared to Montana, there is such a shortage of contractors bidding jobs in North Dakota that there’s almost no competition. New contractors are moving into North Dakota with no subcontractor base. The growth is outpacing the workforce, creating job opportunities for contractors, truckers, builders, skilled laborers, small businesses, and many others far beyond North Dakota.

Estimating revenue from the Bakken alone, Scott says oil patch projects account for 15% of his family’s business. Luckily for Scott, he only has to leave the Flathead about once every four months to check on jobs in North Dakota to make sure things are running smoothly. For Scott’s younger brother Tyler, however, the story is quite different.

Tyler Gearhart, like his brother, graduated from MSU in Bozeman where he lives today. He received his degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and now works as a MWD Field Technician for The Directional Drilling Company. He was recommended for the position by his uncle, who Tyler says has worked in the oil fields for the better part of two decades. Tyler’s main responsibilities include assembling tools for down hole monitoring, setting up surface gear, and taking surveys. Like most true blue Montanans, the Gearhart brothers spend their free time outdoors fishing and skiing (pictured above).
“It was always a goal of mine to stay in Montana after college,” said Tyler, who describes the worse part of his job as the long periods away from home. He says the best thing about his job is the people.

“Don’t make assumptions about what goes on in the oilfields,” said Tyler, “Come out and experience things before you jump to conclusions.”

Retrieved 27 February 2013. The Montana Petroleum Report. For more information contact: Jessica Sena, 590-8675

URTeC, 12-14 August 2013 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver

The inaugural Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards will be held in Denver on Tuesday 12 March 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The senior industry executives judging the Oil & Gas Awards have had a busy December reviewing almost 300 entries from around 200 different companies and casting their votes.

The awards celebrate the achievements of upstream & midstream companies, service providers and suppliers, twinned with the industry’s commitment to H&S, Environmental Stewardship and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Congratulations to the following companies that have been voted as finalists in the 2012 Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards:

  • A&W Water Service, Inc.
  • AbTech Industries, Inc.
  • Ames Savage Water Solutions
  • Antea Group
  • Aon Corporation
  • Aqua-Pure Ventures
  • BeneTerra
  • Black Hills Exploration and Production, Inc.
  • Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc.
  • Bradsby Group
  • Brady Trucking, Inc.
  • Burleson LLP
  • Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc.
  • Cobra Manufacturing & Sales LLC
  • Coldsweep Inc.
  • Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
  • Davis & Davis Company
  • Ecocion, Inc.
  • Encana Corporation
  • Enviro Voraxial® Technology, Inc.
  • Frank Henry Equipment USA, LLC
  • FTS International
  • Gold Spur Trucking
  • Herbrick Agency
  • High Sierra Energy, LP
  • Honeywell Analytics
  • IMA, Inc.
  • KLJ
  • Marquis Alliance Energy Group
  • McPherson & McVey
  • Nexus Staffing Solutions, LLC
  • ONEOK, Inc.
  • Precision Placement Services, Inc.
  • Produced Water Solutions, Inc.
  • PTI Group USA
  • QEP Resources, Inc.
  • Questar Pipeline Company
  • Ryckman Creek Resources, LLC
  • Savage
  • Spartan Engineering Inc.
  • Stellar Recruitment
  • Target Logistics
  • TaxOps LLC
  • TETRA Technologies, Inc.
  • Vacuworx® Global
  • Venoco, Inc.
  • Westcon, Inc.
  • Zavanna, LLC

The winners will be announced at the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards gala dinner ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver on Tuesday 12 March.

The list of all finalist companies can be found at as well as information about table bookings for each gala event. For information on sponsorship opportunities and to reserve your table for what will be a fantastic night of celebration please call Marc Bridgen on +1 (210) 591 8475 or email

URTeC, 12-14 August 2013 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver

Oil Money BakkenTransCanada Corp. remains confident that the amended plans for the northern portion of its Keystone XL oil pipeline project will obtain the approvals it needs from both Nebraska and the White House, the company said Wednesday.

The public comment phase of Nebraska’s consideration of the pipeline re-routing that avoids an environmentally sensitive region will conclude soon and the Canadian pipeline company expects it will be able to complete its reapplication for a Presidential Permit later by the end of the year.

“The outcome of the U.S. election doesn’t change our opinion that Keystone XL will be approved” and built by the end of 2014 or early 2015, said Alex Pourbaix, president of Energy and Oil Pipelines at an Investor Day event in Toronto. It was just about a year ago that the U.S. State Department delayed a decision on the project and then, in January, President Obama rejected the permit application.

The project has encountered significant opposition from environmentalists, politicians and others concerned that the carbon emissions of oilsands crude production and consumption would worsen global warming and that the pipeline put a major aquifer at risk of contamination from an oil spill.

Pourbaix’s comments came before Obama, in his first press conference since winning reelection, spoke of the need to address climate change. “I am a firm believer that climate change is real and impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions,” he said. “I think we have an obligation to do something about it.”

Obama went on to say he wasn’t aware of what Democrats or Republicans were prepared to do, but that taking on climate change in a serious way “would involve some tough political choices.”

For TransCanada, the need for the full Keystone pipeline system (stretching from Hardisty, Alberta to Houston and Port Arthur, Texas) grows stronger the longer it is delayed. At 1.4 million b/d and capable of exporting one third of all projected Canadian oil production, the completed Keystone system will provide crude oil delivery volume that can’t be matched by rail or truck, Pourbaix said.

In the last year, shippers previously committed to long-term contracts on Keystone XL have remained so and enough volume has been added to make the line fully committed for 20 years, said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO. Nervousness about long-term commitments has given way to worries that oil production will outstrip takeaway capacity which, even with Keystone XL in place could occur by 2017.

TransCanada executives also discussed the progress of the proposed Eastern Mainline. Studies of both  economic and technical feasibility are well underway for the project that would involve the conversion of natural gas pipeline that runs east to Montreal and Toronto and the construction of new pipeline to connect the converted pipeline to the Hardisty hub. Capacity projections range between 500,000 to 1 million b/d, depending on where interest lies.

Executives reported that eastern Canada’s highest-in-the-country fuel prices, familiarity with crude oil movement (unlike British Columbia where pipeline construction is encountering significant opposition) and refiners’ desire to obtain crude cheaper than waterborne imports have stakeholders looking favorably on the project.

Allowing “a couple of years in permitting and a couple more in construction” makes 2017 a probable startup date if the Eastern Mainline Oil Pipeline were to go ahead, company executives said.

–Beth Heinsohn,   |