These are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all. We are committed to doing everything we can for the safety of our employees and members.
Additionally, our focus is to assure the continuity of business functions, as we have an important role to play, ensuring 3 million members across nine states have reliable electricity, along with continuing our operations at Dakota Gasification Company.
While the safety and health of our members and employees continue to be a top priority, it’s inevitable that the effects of this pandemic hamper our business. Already-low commodity prices impact us at Dakota Gas, which produces synthetic natural gas from coal, and a growing list of products including urea, anhydrous ammonia, and carbon dioxide.
Low commodity prices also affect the production of oil in the Williston Basin of western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Oil production is slowing, and in some cases, production is at a halt. We are closely monitoring this, as our pre-pandemic load forecast showed immense growth, for which we were making plans to buy and build generation capacity. The related financial impact and duration of this economic slowdown due to the pandemic cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.
You will read about plans throughout this annual report that may change over the next year. We will continue to work with our members to find new ways to support them.