Montana Dakota also explored new areas of activity after the war. As part of the Dakota Public Service agreement in 1945, it acquired the Knife River Coal Mining Company, which moved from bottom-up to open pit mining. In the 1950s, oil reserves were drawn from eastern Montana. Instead of exploiting the oil itself, Montana-Dakota executives signed a net product agreement with Shell Western E-P. Shell Western was exploiting the company`s 90,000 hectares of rental property, which produced more than 860,000 barrels in 1958 and paid $300,000 in Montana Dakota. Guiding principles: providing quality and inexpensive products and services. Produce a higher overall return for our shareholders. Do business with integrity and respect for everyone. Minimize waste and maximize resources. Recognize our responsibility to be an effective corporate citizen. Develop individual potential and teamwork to gain employees as a permanent source of competitive advantages.
The final element of Sommaus` reorganization was prairielands Energy Marketing, which expanded the group`s energy markets. In 1991, Prairielands signed a 17-year capacity contract with the Northern Border Pipeline System. The agreement linked regional natural gas reserves to key national markets. In 1992, the natural gas futures market began to be used. MDU founded utility Services, Inc. in 1997, contributing to its growing diversity. As a full-service engineering, design and construction company, the new subsidiary specializes in the construction and maintenance of power lines and natural gas distribution and transportation systems. Until 2000, the company had annual sales of $169 million and was expected to bring in close to $300 million in 2001.
Its growth rate was promising as distribution companies struggled to replace aging lines. In the early 1970s, the company expanded its natural gas distribution system to two “Progress” projects. “Progress `70” extended pipelines 227 miles east over North Dakota, bringing 12 new communities into service for $18.5 million. “Progress 72” extended the gas system north to the U.S. Army Radar Acquisition Perimeter (PAR) near Cavalier, North Dakota, and led to gas service for five North Dakota municipalities. To supply these new customers, Montana-Dakota sought gas from the five sedimentary basins in the Rocky Mountain High Plains area and purchased gas from Rapelje Basin Lake northwest of Billings in 1974. By the beginning of the new millennium, the mDU had reduced its focus on its procurement activities. In 2000, utilities accounted for less than 10% of sales. Growth in other sectors, which was largely driven by acquisitions (70 between 1993 and 2001), was more disciplined than planned: it only made its purchases in closely related disciplines or companies, and the strategy seemed very effective. The company`s revenue, which stood at $464 million in 1995, reached $1.9 billion in 2000.