Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today is hosting Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for a two-day overview of Western North Dakota's oil patch to showcase growing oil and gas development in the region and to share best practices gathered from North Dakota's experience. Hoeven, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has been working closely with Murkowski, the committee's ranking member, to advance the nation's energy policies, bolster the economy and create jobs.
During their two-day tour of the Bakken Region, Sens. Murkowski and Hoeven will visit oil and natural gas production and associated sites, including an oil rig, gas plant and rail station, to review the technological advances being used to recover oil and gas from the Bakken shale. Throughout the tour, the senators plan to meet with local industry, community and tribal leaders to discuss ongoing challenges and opportunities in the region.
The Bakken's oil and gas resources were considered too expensive to develop a decade ago, but advances in drilling technology and a favorable legal, tax and regulatory environment developed by the state has pushed North Dakota's oil production to 675,000 barrels a day, second only to Texas.
The senators have been working together to advance the nation's energy goals. Hoeven introduced and Murkowski cosponsored the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act of 2012, a comprehensive package of energy legislation that will not only reduce the high energy costs faced by hard-working families and small businesses, but also spur badly-needed economic growth and job creation across the U.S. economy. Additionally, Hoeven cosponsored the OPEN Act, legislation introduced by Senator Murkowski that would expand American offshore energy production with a revised five-year leasing plan, and provide revenue sharing to participating coastal states.
The itinerary includes a ground tour of Williston, where the senators will view how the rapid growth of the state's oil and gas industry is impacting the region. The U.S. Census Bureau has ranked the city as the fastest growing small metropolitan area in the country. Rapid growth has contributed to the state having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and at the same time, put new demands on the region's infrastructure and public services, which Senator Hoeven is working in Congress to address.
"It's a pleasure to welcome Senator Murkowski to North Dakota to see our state's dynamic oil and gas industry firsthand," said Hoeven. "As the ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee and Alaska's senior senator, she understands the great potential of our nation's vast energy resources and recognizes the need to implement sound legal, tax and regulatory policies to fully develop them. A pro-growth energy agenda marks the path to national energy security, a growing national economy, lower gas prices for consumers and good jobs for the American people."
"It's important to see firsthand the places that are making our nation more energy independent. My trip to North Dakota will be my fourth visit this year to a "frontier' energy producing area," Murkowski said. "In each of these promising regions -- the Gulf of Mexico, the Marcellus, the Arctic, and the Bakken -- it's clear that we have the collective resources to meet far more of our energy needs with domestic production, but the federal government is creating unique problems in each place. Technology has caught up with demand and is helping demonstrate that our energy challenges have nothing to do with scarcity and a lot to do with public perception and government policy choices."
North Dakota and Alaska are national energy leaders, ranking, respectively, the second and third largest oil-producing states in the nation.