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BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today addressed attendees at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, thanking oil and gas operators for their positive impact and resiliency through the COVID-19 pandemic and challenging the industry to help make North Dakota a carbon-neutral state by the end of the decade.
Burgum highlighted the promise of carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) initiatives such as Project Tundra; the use of injected carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery; efforts to store carbon from ethanol plants in underground formations in North Dakota; best management practices in agriculture to store carbon in soil and rangeland; and other innovative projects and practices that can help North Dakota reach carbon-neutral status by 2030.
Burgum said North Dakota hit the “geologic jackpot” with storage capacity for 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide – nearly 50 times the United States’ annual energy-related carbon dioxide output. He noted out-of-state ethanol companies have already expressed interest in storing CO2 in North Dakota.
“Of the states, North Dakota is among the best positioned to help our country and our world transition in an economically feasible way to a carbon-constrained future while providing reliable, resilient and affordable energy,” Burgum said, adding a longer-term goal would be to create a vision for how North Dakota could become the nation’s first carbon-negative state. “We won’t achieve this goal with federal mandates or state regulations. The only way we’ll achieve this goal is through innovation.”
During their biennial regular session that wrapped up last month, state legislators passed, and Burgum signed, several bills to support CCUS efforts:
- House Bill 1452 allocates $25 million to create a Clean Sustainable Energy Fund to support low-emission technology projects and help provide a long-term, viable path forward for the state’s critical energy industry.
- Senate Bill 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission budget, includes $9.5 million to study the feasibility of underground salt cavern storage in North Dakota.
- SB 2152 adds geologic storage of carbon dioxide to the sales and use tax exemption.
- SB 2206 allows utilities to recover costs for carbon capture.
Burgum credited the oil and gas industry for contributing to North Dakota’s growth over the last decade, as the state grew by 106,503 residents to a record population of 779,094, with the nation’s fourth-highest growth rate at 15.9%. The governor thanked the industry for its resiliency through the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price collapse that preceded it, noting that North Dakota’s daily oil production has stayed at over 1 million barrels a day since July 2020 and the state remains the nation’s No. 2 oil producer.
“We're deeply grateful to those operators who continue to invest in production and infrastructure that will keep our state well-positioned for future growth,” Burgum said.
More than 2,500 people have registered for the three-day conference, which began Tuesday at the Bismarck Event Center and is co-hosted by the North Dakota Geologic Survey and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources.