With a seemingly ever-increasing mother lode of crude oil from the Bakken Shale play, North Dakota lawmakers have embarked on a process for developing a long-term strategy regarding state revenues and taxation of the oil industry. An initial review of bidders to help in mapping the strategy is set for Oct. 31.

With a final document due at the end of August next year, the state legislature's interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee is reviewing proposals for conducting the oil study from Bismarck-based engineering/planning firm Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, and Morristown, NJ-based Louis Berger Group Inc., an engineering/planning services firm.

The study was mandated earlier this year by legislation (HB 1198) that tasked North Dakota's legislative management unit to look at "likely changes to oil industry practices, production, impacts and tax policy in the foreseeable future."

State lawmakers are seeking insights into current and future production growth, including the roles of enhanced oil recovery techniques, the eventual impact of mature production areas on state and local tax policy, future infrastructure needs and environmental considerations.

Whoever gets the nod to develop the report will be called on for periodic progress reports to an energy committee overseeing the report's development. Ultimately, the legislative management function, headed by state Sen. Ray Holmberg, will decide what to move forward with in terms of legislative proposals to address the state's long-term policy, drawing on the consultant's report and the energy committee comments on it.

Holmberg will decide on the winning bid among the consultants vying for the job.