Your online source for western North Dakota and oil news

Felony arrests spike in Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. — Felony arrests in Williston more than doubled in last year, averaging about 3.6 a day. Williston Police Chief Jim Lokken presented the annual report last week, revealing 1,328 felonies in 2014, up from 591 in 2013. The after-effect was more than double the prisoners of last year, rising to 2,601 from 1,138. Lt. Det. David Peterson said the large increase is a result of more narcotics use, primarily heroin and other opiates in the heart of the North Dakota oil boom.

Marred by recent spill, pipeline company outlines next project

CROSBY, N.D. – The Public Service Commission pressed a pipeline company for details Monday about how it would detect spills in a proposed crude oil pipeline in northwest North Dakota. Meadowlark Midstream, the company under investigation after a massive saltwater pipeline leak near Williston, is seeking permission from state regulators to proceed with a new project. The company proposes to construct a 46-mile steel pipeline to carry oil from its pump station southeast of Fortuna to the Basin Transload Rail Facility southeast of Columbus. The pipeline would initially carry 20,000 to 25,000 barrels per day and could increase to 50,000 barrels per day, said John Millar, a vice president for Summit Midstream, the parent company of Meadowlark.

Man who ran brothels reaches plea deal

Loc Tran will serve at least two years
BISMARCK, N.D. -- A California man has reached a plea deal on charges of operating and profiting from brothels in North Dakota's Oil Patch from June 2012 to March 2014. Under the agreement, federal prosecutors and Loc Tran agreed to a sentence of no less than two years, the bottom of the guideline range for the crimes and Tran's criminal history. He would also forfeit proceeds from the brothels and serve five years of supervised release. A judge will consider the agreement and the proposed sentence at a plea change hearing scheduled for Thursday in Bismarck.

North Dakota rig count drops below 100 for first time in 5 years

WILLISTON, N.D. – The number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota dipped below 100 Wednesday for the first time in five years, but one company said the level of oil production has kept activity busy. The rig count on Wednesday was 98, with three more rigs scheduled to be idle soon, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. The last time the rig count was below 100 was in February 2010 when 93 rigs were active in the state, said spokeswoman Alison Ritter. North Dakota saw a record 218 drilling rigs in May of 2012.

COLUMN: At Farm and Fleet, I'm a woman who can do anything

COLUMN: At Farm and Fleet, I'm a woman who can do anything

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- One of the most worthless things on the planet are rubber boots with holes in both. I discovered that I own a pair when I got my 4-wheeler stuck in mud halfway up its tires last week. So I need a new pair of rubber boots, which gives me a good excuse to go to the Farm and Fleet store. Seriously. I love the Farm and Fleet store. You wouldn't pick up on that just looking at me, you know, with the big hair and my recent attraction to sequins, but it's true. Bring me to a town with a Runnings or a Tractor Supply, a Feed and Seed or Bob or Jim or Kathy's Western Supply down the road, and I will find an excuse to stop in.


Manufacturers trying to find their niche in oil industry

WILLISTON, N.D. – A product a North Dakota manufacturing company began making for one oil customer is now exported to several states. The success story of a product from Steffes Corp., with locations in Dickinson and Grand Forks, served as an example this week for regional manufacturers trying to break into the oil and gas business.

Stockholders approve Halliburton, Baker Hughes merger

Companies employ roughly 2,000 in North Dakota
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Stockholders from both companies gave the green light on Friday for Halliburton Co. to acquire Baker Hughes Inc. for about $35 billion. An "integration team" has been formed but it's too soon to tell still what the on-the-ground effects will be for the companies' employees in North Dakota. Both have operations offices just north of Dickinson for their oilfield services operations in the Bakken, including hydraulic fracturing.

Oil company requests to flare 140 wells

XTO Energy wants exceptions till 2016
BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota’s new policy for exempting oil wells from gas-flaring rules will soon be put to the test as XTO Energy is requesting exceptions for 140 oil wells in Dunn and McKenzie counties. According to the request, the company says it has nowhere to take the gas because OneOK, a gas-processing company, was unable to secure an easement agreement for one final tract and can’t build a 20-mile pipeline expansion. The easements are complicated by the need to cross the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation or U.S. Forest Service land, according to documents filed with the case.

BNSF announces measures to improve railroad safety

Rail company to reduce speeds, replace DOT-111 cars by end of year
BISMARCK, N.D. -- One of the top rail companies in the U.S. has announced steps to improve rail safety in North Dakota. BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose outlined plans recently with Gov. Jack Dalrymple to implement additional measures throughout the company's national rail system. BNSF also informed customers on Friday about the safety measures, according to a news release.

With bypasses open, officials work to make sure trucks use them

With bypasses open, officials work to make sure trucks use them

DICKINSON, N.D. -- As western North Dakota boomtowns work to catch up to growing truck traffic with bypasses around city centers, they're also working to make sure commercial truck drivers actually use the routes. Places like Watford City, a true headache to drive through before its bypass opened last November, have drastically cut in-town truck traffic because it's easier for the trucks just cut around town than it was before.


Featured Staff Blogs OIL PATCH DISPATCH
New rules take effect for Bakken crude, but will they improve safety?
WILLISTON, N.D. New rules for conditioning Bakken crude oil take effect today, but will they improve the safety of transporting crude by rail? The industry and state regulators say yes. Critics say...
4/1/15 at 12:10 AM ADDICTED TO RUNNING
Through the sand hills
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3/31/15 at 8:55 PM ASTRO BOB
St. Patrick's Day aurora storm strongest in a decade
Earth celebrated St. Patrick's Day on March 17 with vivid red, white and green aurorasseen as far south as the southern U.S.and as far north asNew Zealand in the southern hemisphere. It turns out t...
3/31/15 at 6:39 PM BISON MEDIA BLOG
Hoops news
The basketball offseason is here for NDSU, unlike last year it won't be nearly as busy as last April with a coaching change in the process. Saul Phillips was the standout of last year's Final Four in ...
3/31/15 at 6:18 PM UND HOCKEY
UND lands SSM's Grant Mismash
The good week continues for UND, which received a verbal commitment from Shattuck-St. Mary's Grant Mismash, a 1999-born forward. Mismash had 62points in 52games for Shattuck this season. Proud to ann...
3/31/15 at 4:39 PM

Featured Area Voices NDSU NEWS
NDSU graduate students to host interactive science event
North Dakota State University graduate students will host an event to give local high school students and the community the opportunity to learn science concepts and see the breadth of scientific disc...
The most misused SSN of all time - a true story for April 1
April 1 is often a day for jokes but this is a true story about the most misused Social Security number (SSN) of all time. Source is the Social Security website history section. As you read this, rem...
4/1/15 at 8:10 AM UND NEWS
UND announces nickname suggestion process
On Wednesday, April 1, the UND Nickname Committee launches a month-long campaign to seek submissions for a nickname that will define UND's athletics teams. Everyone is invited to submit suggestions. ...
Lorrie’s Burritos Deliciosos
Last year Lorrie agreed to share some of the recipes she cooks for her family. I have already posted her Baked Oatmeal and Roosevelt Beans recipes. A day or two later she sent me her recipe for Burr...
The Kindness of Mrs. Johnson Lives On
Every once in a while, a person comes into your life just for a season. We'd like it to be longer, but the gift we were given has an expiration date, and for one reason or another, the time comes wh...
3/28/15 at 7:34 AM