Energy industry leaders talk future challenges at Montana Energy Summit

Posted at 3:20 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 17:20:33-04

Montana is in a place of abundance when it comes to natural gas and oil resources in this country.

That was the sentiment expressed by Harold Hamm, a keynote speaker at the Montana Energy summit.

The Montana Energy Summit, which took place from Wednesday and Thursday at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center, brought together industry leaders from across the country and around the world to discuss the state of the energy industry in America.

Hamm, founder and CEO of Continental Resources, a huge player in the Bakken fields, spoke at length about the state of the energy industry in America.

He says that we are well on our way to energy self-sufficiency and the technology-driven resurgence of areas like the Bakken is a big reason why.

He notes that when the Bakken oilfields first developed the maximum projected yield was 700,000 barrels, but with the addition of better drilling methods like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, those numbers have risen to 1.1 million.

In fact, some of the child wells in the Bakken fields are more productive than their parent wells, an uncommon situation.

He believes that the U.S. has the tools to dominate the global energy market and shield itself from the fluctuations of the market based on its self-sufficiency.

While Hamm represented the oil and gas industry with confidence, renewable energy experts also highlighted the development of renewables in America.

Among those who spoke was former Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who is now a senior advisor for Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. Ayotte said that she believes renewables could add to the market dominance that Hamm and conference sponsor Sen. Steve Daines of Montana touted.

She believes that America has all the tools to be a leader in the renewable sector as well.

Peder Maarbjerg, a spokesman for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy Division (ARPA-E), said that the future of renewable energy is as part of a integrated whole.

ARPA-E is a federal agency that provides money to innovative energy projects from across the country. Since its inception, ARPA-E has distributed more than $1.8 billion in research and development dollars to over 680 energy projects. These projects have resulted in 245 patents, 71 companies formed and an additional $2.6 billion in private sector follow up funding.