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Coyote getting into 'hot water' with coal-generated steam
Steam for fracking

Coyote getting into 'hot water' with coal-generated steam

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Coyote Station, a power plant four miles south of Beulah, is about to get into hot water with the oil industry. But it’s not in trouble, it’s in business.

Steam from generating electricity will be used to heat water for fracture-treating oil wells.

When the project is done, tanker trucks will pull up to one of eight water depot bays at Coyote and load on hot water, cold water, or both.

It will be the first time the power of coal-generated steam is paired with the oil industry and only the second industrially-scaled hot water depot in the oil patch. The other is a natural gas operation near Williston.

From Coyote, loaded trucks will head north on state Highway 49 into Dunn County, or south and around to oil well jobs in the Dickinson area.

Fracture treating wells requires millions of gallons of water and ideally it’s between 65 and 85 degrees for best results with the gelling chemicals.

Coyote is working on the project with Central Dakota Water Works, a private partnership. Central Dakota has a permit to draw 4,800 acre-feet of water from the Missouri River through Coyote’s pipeline, which was oversized back in the ’80s, when there were going to be two Coyote units, not one.

It will sell the water and pay Coyote to use its facilities, said Duane Tessier, one of the company owners. Hot water will cost more than cold water, but all of it will be better than using precious aquifer water in places like Dunn County, where he comes from, he said.

Dan Farrell, who oversees the water permits for the State Water Commission, agrees that the Missouri River is a good draw for oil field water.

“This is a very wise use of the water, coming from an excellent source,” Farrell said.

Coyote might be the first power plant to get into the hot water business, but a good idea is always copied.

Great River Energy just made public notice that it also wants to sell 4,800 acre-feet of heated and cold water from its Stanton Station. An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover an acre, one foot deep.

Spokesman Lyndon Anderson refused comment on Great River’s plans while they’re in development.

Tessier said cold water will be ready to go in six to eight weeks, but it’ll take awhile longer to get the hot water out to the depots.

He expects the depot will put another 10 trucks on hour out on state Highway 49, depending on the frack job.

Tessier said the project is green, because it reuses coal steam to heat the water.

It’ll leave the depot at somewhere between 120 and 140 degrees.

“It’s safer than heating it on location,” he said.

Monte Besler, who owns the fracture treatment consultant company, Fracn8tr, said fracture companies heat water to improve gelling, to cause less stress on the down hole pipe casing and to keep fluids from freezing.

“It’s why almost everybody heats their fluids,” he said. Companies will buy hot water, rather than heat it on site in special units, depending on the haul distance and the temperature of the delivered water, he said.

Brad Zimmerman, Coyote plant manager, said the project will benefit electric customers by adding revenue to the plant’s bottom line. Coyote is also selling waste fly ash to the oil field, where it’s used to solidify drill cuttings in waste pits.

Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 220-5511 or


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