B&A Global Energy sets sights on ending flaring in Bakken

Photo by Jonathan Pezza / Special to The Press Jack Kelley, president and CEO of B&A Global Energy of Tulsa, Okla., left, speaks with Michael Wu, inventor of the Energy Capturing Operating System (ECOS) at a well site in Mongolia in this undated photo provided by the company.
Photo by Jonathan Pezza / Special to The Press
Jack Kelley, president and CEO of B&A Global Energy of Tulsa, Okla., left, speaks with Michael Wu, inventor of the Energy Capturing Operating System (ECOS) at a well site in Mongolia in this undated photo provided by the company.

Jack Kelley and Skip Bennett are an unassuming duo with a big idea.

The entrepreneurs, together with a Taiwanese inventor and engineer, have a plan to capture natural gas, eliminate flaring at the wellhead, create a viable commodity from that gas, and pay both energy companies and royalty owners for their share.

B&A Global Energy, a small company based in Tulsa, Okla., has acquired the rights to the Energy Capturing Operating System (ECOS), a portable refinery able to be placed at a well site. The ECOS captures and processes methane gas produced in the hydraulic fracturing process into liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“This is a game-changing technology to the oil and gas business,” said Kelley, B&A Global’s president and CEO and a 25-year veteran of the energy industry who is also a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and a licensed architect.

B&A Global wants to bring its ECOS technology to the U.S. — specifically to North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford shale formations — after witnessing the technology work in Asia.

“We have chosen the Bakken as our focus,” said Bennett, B&A Global’s board chairman and founder.

The idea, they say, is simple.

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What do I want my 30s to be about?

Something dawned on me the other day. Tomorrow, I’ll no longer be 30. I’ll actually be in my 30s.

I’ve reached that stage in life where everything begins to slow down while simultaneously becoming more complicated.

Spending the past year as a 30-year-old, I never truly felt like I was “in my 30s “ As my 31st birthday arrives Monday, that feeling is beginning to change.

At 30, I got married, lost an old friend far too early and said goodbye to my second grandparent in as many years.

That, along with the speculation of what is to come in life, has led me to spend more time thinking about the impact I’m making as I start my own family, play a visible role in our community and try to leave a lasting impact on our world — even if that “world” is limited to southwest North Dakota.

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Thrifty White Pharmacy leaving mall in March

The new Thrifty White Pharmacy building is shown on the Third Avenue West frontage road Friday in north Dickinson.

A longtime tenant of the Prairie Hills Mall is leaving for its own space.

Dave Reuter, vice president of personnel for Thrifty White Pharmacy, said the Dickinson business is relocating to its own building nearing completion on the Third Avenue West frontage road between Brady Martz and Eyewear Concepts and behind the North Hills Shopping Center.

The new pharmacy plans to be open in its new location Monday, March 2, Reuter said. Its final day at the mall is Saturday, Feb. 28.

“This really gets us into a real building that’s a professional pharmacy,” he said.

The store, commonly known by its former name, White Drug, is selling out of its food and other merchandise at the mall location through the rest of February.

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Co-op store vital to Regent

The Regent Co-Op Store’s facade has barely changed over the years. It opened in 1936 and continues to serve the small community today.

REGENT — Darrel Remington remembers when Regent supported three grocery stores.

“All were important, of course,” he said as he looked over a mostly quiet Main Street on the morning of Feb. 5. “Then it narrowed down to eventually the one.”

The one, thanks to sustained community efforts, has fought through the tough times and still provides an essential service to the small southwest North Dakota town of less than 200 people.

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Men of steel: Mott’s Roadmaster makes impact for energy, ag industries by fabrication

Roadmaster manager Corey Johnson stands in the shop the company moved into last December.

MOTT — Mott sits on the outer edge of western North Dakota’s Oil Patch. Still, the small town of about 800 people has found ways to contribute to the bustling energy industry.

The company making perhaps the biggest impact is Roadmaster, a subsidiary of K&K Construction in West Fargo.

Though its name can be deceiving — a remnant of about a decade ago when its primary task was fabricating and welding metals for asphalt paving equipment — Roadmaster is contracted to fabricate and weld structural steel used on electrical substations that end up being used on oil rigs and at major substations throughout the country. Along with that, the shop also makes cattle creep feeders.

“A lot of this goes nationwide,” manager Corey Johnson said. “It’s a big process.”

Video: Jim Ferderer explains what Roadmaster does.

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Fisher Group strives to be ‘best in class’

Four years ago, Mike Fisher set out to bring a handful of companies he ran together under one roof.

Today, The Fisher Group employs an estimated 250 people at a more than a dozen area businesses and has turned into a management company that has given area residents businesses they not only want but, in many ways, need.

“We want to be the best at what we do,” Fisher said. “We want to be the best in class.”

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Editorial: Slowdown allows time to weigh environmental impacts

The oil slowdown is here. Is it long lasting? Will prices bounce back by the end of 2015? Or, will North Dakota’s Oil Patch cities suffer long-lasting economic impacts?

No one can answer those questions because no one can predict the future. History has shown, however, that oil prices don’t go down and stay down. They ebb and fl ow. Just as quickly as prices reach lows, they can quickly rocket to all-time highs.

Because of this ongoing fluctuation and uncertainty in the world market, the oil industry in western North Dakota is changing. The boom days are over. The days of a more moderated and economical approach are here as the industry in western North Dakota tries to catch up in all areas, from infrastructure to adapting their business to keep up with new prices. Companies are cutting jobs. Others aren’t doing anything.

As the industry slows to a more manageable pace, one area we encourage North Dakota legislators to openly talk about this session is the environment, and how even a Republican-dominated state can properly balance the oil industry with proper environmental management.

This past month, there were two major spills into bodies of water. One was an oil leak into the Yellowstone River, one of the Midwest’s greatest rivers and a source of drinking water for some Montana communities. Another was a brine water leak into a small creek that eventually worked its way to the Missouri River.

There are also issues relating to rule changes regarding the ongoing regulation of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material, or TENORM. In the December issue, we wrote stories about northern Oil Patch farmers upset about saltwater disposal well breeches into their fields.

We know Republicans aren’t the party most likely to broach the subject of environmental legislation and regulation, but the proof is on the surface. There are issues that need to be addressed during this session, and now is the perfect time to do it.

Shoring up environmental regulations for the energy industry and increasing fi nes for those found to have made mistakes is not going to chase the industry out of the state.

Oil isn’t a reckless industry. It can’t afford to be.

The overwhelming majority of oil industry companies do everything right and by the book. But that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t happen.

If more regulation means protecting farmer’s fields and pastures, and drinking water sources, then we say, do it. It’s the right time to institute better policy when it comes to regulating radioactive material, brine and produced water, pipelines and responsibilities for spills — especially those involving water.