Gov. Burgum greets oil producers at Bakken Conference and Expo

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum helped open the Bakken Conference and Expo by issuing a challenge to producers.

The Governor thinks we can get more out of the Bakken.

"The challenge we want to lay out there is for this industry in North Dakota is to get to two million barrels of oil per day. And I don't think that's at all impossible. Maybe that number is going to look low someday but I think that's something that this industry should be thinking about," said Burgum.

Two million per day is a lofty goal, but some aren't sure the region is ready for it.

"We'd love to see it, but I think it's a ways off, I know that operators would probably like to see the price of oil firm up," said Monte Basler, Fracn8R Consulting.

Another thing holding the Bakken back is the workforce.

"One of our biggest hurdles in North Dakota is man power again. We're back to trying to make due with, to some extent, with our local workforce, which is busy," said Basler.

Companies are looking for skilled workers to take on jobs, which they say are high paying.

In addition to setting his sights high on production the governor says there is zero tolerance for spills in the pipeline industry which was illustrated by the news coverage of two spills from the Dakota Access Pipeline compared to an oil truck crash which ended in death.

"It's a tragedy when we lose life it's a tragedy when we spill 8,000 gallons, but none of that was news globally but the pipeline was," said Burgum.

Oil production is a high stakes game, but the state relies on it for income and the governor seems to want to push it to new limits.

Burgum also says he supports freeing the industry from regulations that don't work like repeat reporting of spills to multiple agencies across the state.