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The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) hosted the 3rd Annual Partnership Summit on May 10. The event served as a forum for partners from multiple energy industry sectors to discuss critical topics. North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness welcomed over 100 attendees, who represented public utilities, private industry, government entities, and energy research experts.

Keynote speaker Steven Winberg, U.S. Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, discussed the nation’s transition from an energy importer to a top producer, moving toward exporting. He highlighted North Dakota’s collaborations between universities, industry, and state and federal government as the example for the nation.

North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford discussed energy’s vital role in the state’s economy and key state initiatives. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring discussed opportunities to capitalize on the state’s agriculture and energy synergies, and North Dakota Senator Rich Wardner provided updates on the Energy Development and Transmission Committee’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Neset Consulting CEO and State Board of Higher Education member Kathleen Neset discussed ways to prepare future energy industry employees for their careers while they are students. A multidisciplinary discussion panel focused on carbon dioxide and its role as a bridge between different energy sectors; specifically, between Coal and Oil and Gas. EERC Vice President for Strategic Partnerships John Harju moderated the panel of experts who included Stacey Dahl, External Affairs and Communications Manager at Minnkota Power Cooperative; Robert Mau, President of Eagle Operating, Inc.; and Michael Nasi, partner with the Jackson Walker law firm.

Dr. Brian Kalk, EERC Director of Energy Systems Development, outlined progress made toward advancing the goals developed during the 2017 Partnership Summit for North Dakota’s energy future. These goals include doubling or tripling the current oil production in the state, eliminating pipeline leaks, increasing oil recovery rates in existing wells, maximizing the use of North Dakota natural gas and energy export opportunities, enhancing energy reliability, educating the world on energy and environmental topics, and making the best use of synergies between the agriculture and energy industries. Specific examples of progress made toward these goals in the last year are summarized in the EERC’s newest resource, “Energizing North Dakota’s Future: Advancing the Goals.”

“We have not only the opportunity but also the obligation to the citizens of North Dakota to change and prepare for the future,” says EERC CEO Tom Erickson. “Venues like this foster collaboration on those opportunities."

Click here to view event photos.