Until the COVID-19 lockdowns hit the oil and gas markets, it was pretty impressive to see the innovation occurring in American industry.

Just looking right here in our own backyard in Montana and North Dakota, you had the Bakken boom kick off several years ago. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) combined with horizontal drilling unleashed the domestic energy potential that led the United States to becoming the world's leading energy producer. We were no longer dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

Then, you look at the increased innovation that went underway. Just as fracking allowed us to develop the oil resources in the Bakken and elsewhere, it also unleashed huge deposits of natural gas.

Oftentimes, that natural gas was simply flared off instead of put to use. So an entrepreneur from Billings, Montana named Brian Cebull started a company named GTUIT, which came up with a way to capture the natural gas instead of flare it off. Pretty impressive innovation.

Aside from natural gas, what else is brought to the surface when we drill for oil? Water. A lot of it. But it is technically considered wastewater due to the high mineral content. That's what makes a company eyeing a move to Billings, Montana even more interesting- they're able to take the wastewater from the oil fields and turn it into useable water for agricultural irrigation.

Evelyn Pyburn with the Big Sky Business Journal had the story in the latest Hotsheet:

Encore Green Environmental (EGE) is a relatively new enterprise focused on making water produced as a waste in the oil fields into useable water for agriculture irrigation – reducing carbon dioxide levels in the process. Currently based in Wyoming, its owners, Marvin and Darlene Nash are considering establishing headquarters in Billings.  The patent-pending technology, called Conservation by Design, has huge potential given that every day in the US some 2.4 billion gallons of by-product water and this usually happens in arid regions of the western US, where ranchers struggle to make a living because of a lack of moisture. This is a market solution that becomes a win, win, win.

 

20 Montana Distilleries You Have to Visit

The Montana distillery scene is certainly taking off, and with the access to local ingredients, you can feel good about supporting these establishments all across the state. Here are 20 distilleries that are worth a visit.