More on that Energy Conference in Bismarck

By October 31, 2007Energy

In pulling out Energy Secretary Sam Bodman’s comments about government mandates (they may be necessary), the AP reporter found the news, but didn’t capture the full range of the energy conference in Bismarck. No complaint, just the way it is.

You get a fuller sense of the event from another report, this from the Forum newspapers, whose reporter included comments from Steve Hinchman, Marathon Oil’s vice president of worldwide production.

“I’m not here to compete with alternative fuels,” said Steve Hinchman, Marathon Oil’s vice president of worldwide production and one of three keynote speakers. “There’s enough demand for energy for all (sources).” He said the conference is “more about what we have in common.”

Marathon, he noted, has its own ethanol plants and facilities that blend petroleum with ethanol.

Hinchman also cites Marathon’s role in North Dakota’s current oil boom: The company has acquired 200,000 acres of mineral leases, plans to drill 150-300 new wells in western North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation, and recently opened a permanent office in Dickinson. In this story from the KX Networks, he reports that Marathon is trying new technologies in the Bakken formation, “blowing up” the rock to extract more oil. That’s a typical sort of innovation in the energy industry that often gets overlooked.

In a visit to Bismarck this summer, we were struck by the amount of economic activity in the town. The energy boom — oil, coal, ethanol, biofuels, even wind — is a big reason for the prosperity.

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