Wednesday, December 28, 2022 - 02:20pm

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced the creation of the North Dakota Energy and Economic Coordination Office (EECO).

The EECO will serve as a unified avenue for industry experts to effectively coordinate with North Dakota energy entities to advance the state’s energy strategy by supporting North Dakota’s full energy portfolio.

“This is an exciting addition to Commerce,” Commerce Economic Development and Finance Director Rich Garman said. “We are incredibly blessed in North Dakota with our natural geology and energy abundance. The Energy and Economic Coordination Office will focus on working with all the energy experts in the state to attract and secure major projects. Additionally, there is an incredible amount of federal funding available to encourage innovation in the energy sector.”

Collaborating entities that currently represent the EECO include Commerce, the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the North Dakota Transmission Authority, the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, North Dakota University System, the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center, EmPower ND, the Lignite Energy Council, and the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

“I’m glad to see Commerce focusing time and talent on facilitating value-added energy opportunities in our state,” North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness said. “The energy industry is getting more complex, and if North Dakota is going to continue to be an energy powerhouse, our state must remain business-friendly to ensure companies can be successful.” 

Through the office, information will be correlated to industry leadership that will enable North Dakotans to maximize federal financial incentives to strengthen the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), along with maintaining a robust supply of both energy production for state use and regional market exports.

The office will generate economic wealth for the state by providing direct assistance to new companies that are interested in relocating to North Dakota, and existing companies that would like to expand their current operations.

“North Dakota’s policy on innovation over regulation is key to attracting business to the state,” Commerce Commissioner Josh Teigen said. “This policy creates one of the most business-friendly atmospheres in the country, allowing businesses to achieve success. The Energy and Economic Coordination Office will further enhance this policy by leveraging the abundant energy resources and expertise in the state.”

The EECO will focus on five primary pillars.

  • Strategic Development of all energy assets. Ensuring an all of the above energy policy is actively implemented in North Dakota. Constant consideration will be given to economic growth, affordability and sustainability.
  • Public Education will be required as the North Dakota energy portfolio evolves. It will be the duty of the EECO to frequently provide educational opportunities on existing, new and emerging energy opportunities in the state.
  • Environmental Stewardship will be pursued to ensure a clean, healthy environment for generations of North Dakotans to come while balancing the rich energy resource diversity of the state. Pursuit of the governor’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 and how this relates to positive economic development will be managed and monitored.
  • Innovative Policy creation and implementation of strong policies that ensure innovation over regulation will ensure continued strong energy growth in North Dakota.
  • Workforce Identification training and attraction will be a primary goal of the EECO to ensure a long-term, world-class workforce is in place to continue North Dakota’s ongoing national energy leadership.

“The North Dakota Transmission Authority looks forward to working with Commerce as they implement the Energy and Economic Coordination Office,” North Dakota Transmission Authority Director John Weeda said. “There are many businesses that are anxious to come to North Dakota. The current state offices are working closely with each other to meet the needs of the interested parties, but a leading coordinating role from Commerce will improve the cohesiveness of that effort.”

The EECO will be led by Commerce Energy and Economic Coordination Office Manager Tom Oakland. Oakland has been with Commerce for approximately one year working as the energy business development manager. Oakland’s energy career began as an energy manager for the Minot Air Force Base, followed by more than a decade working with the North American Coal Corp. and Great River Energy as a systems engineer operator.

“Energy is critical to the North Dakota economy, and Commerce plays an important role in ensuring all of the state’s programs and departments are engaged in bringing new projects to fruition,” North Dakota Clean Sustainable Energy Authority Director Al Anderson said. “Tom’s vast energy experience will benefit the state in his new role.”

For more information about the EECO, visit


The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.