STAFF BLOG OIL PATCH DISPATCH Gas flare suspected as cause of McKenzie County fire
KEENE, N.D. Local officials point to a natural gas flare as the likely cause of a grass fire that scorched about 3,000 acres in McKenzie County this week.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager... Posted on 4/16/15 at 12:14 AM
STAFF BLOG AG RIGHT WITH AGWEEK REPORTER JONATHON KNUTSON Actions and consequences
I've written several stories about how the proposed Food and Drug Administration ban on artificial trans fat in the U.S. food supply could affect Upper Midwest agriculture. One of the stories, an inte... Posted on 11/22/13 at 11:03 AM
REAL OILFIELD WIVES Our Camper Life: An Introduction
Two months ago I was living in a four bedroom house with chickens and gardens, working a full time job and taking care of my son, Will, while his daddy, Jacob, worked in the North Dakota oilfields. So... Posted on 7/10/13 at 9:16 AM
RURAL KEENE, N.D. — Thousands of acres of scorched earth northwest of Keene are evidence of how quickly an oil well flare fire can damage ranch grass and miles of fence line.
It’s also evidence, at least in this case, how quickly an oil company can step up to mitigate the damage done.
WILLISTON, N.D. – North Dakota oil production fell 1.2 percent in February, the first time since 2011 that the state has seen back-to-back drops in monthly oil production.
Low oil prices have prompted operators to postpone bringing new wells online, a trend that’s expected to continue until June, Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said Tuesday.
The state produced an average of just under 1.18 million barrels of oil per day in February, according to preliminary figures. At the end of February, there were a record 900 wells waiting for fracking crews, an increase of 75 from the previous month, Helms estimates.
Production is expected to decline by 1 or 2 percent for the months of March, April and May. But on June 1, a state tax incentive known as the “large trigger” could take effect and contribute to an increase in production.
BISMARCK, N.D. – House lawmakers voted 91-1 Tuesday to enhance the regulation of gathering pipelines, but language that would have required leak-detection technology was stripped from the bill.
House Bill 1358 builds on what lawmakers approved two years ago when the state first decided to begin regulating more than 20,000 miles of gathering pipelines that transport oil, saltwater and other liquids.
KEENE, N.D. – Local officials point to a natural gas flare as the likely cause of a grass fire that scorched about 3,000 acres in McKenzie County this week.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karolin Rockvoy and Keene Fire Chief John Rolfsrud both attribute the fire that started about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to a nearby oil well that was flaring.
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Large signs posted on the sides of apartment buildings or staked on patches of grass, reading "rooms available" and "for rent," are prevalent at many Dickinson complexes.
The signs are a representation of tenants leaving because of the oil slowdown, which has slashed jobs and cut employee hours.
WILLISTON, N.D. – Low oil prices prompted North Dakota oil production to drop 1.2 percent in February to just under 1.18 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday.
Operators are postponing completion work because of low oil prices, Director Lynn Helms wrote in his monthly update.
Drilling on hold, but couple still seeing enough traffic
FORTUNA, N.D. – When an Arizona couple opened up a bar and dorm-style lodging for oilfield workers last year in far northwest North Dakota, the bar was packed and the rooms were booked solid.
But as low oil prices prompted drilling to slow in the fringe areas of the Bakken like the Fortuna area in Divide County, many of their customers left the region.
The number of rooms being rented in the renovated Fortuna school building they call the Old School Center is down by about half from before Christmas. The bar – they named it the Teachers Lounge – still has some busy nights, but they now order 40 to 45 cases of beer from one vendor instead of 88.
Cities rely on past experiences to navigate drop in oil prices, but some feel the effects more than others
DICKINSON, ND.-- As oil production wanes and prices fall, communities across the country are feeling the effects -- either directly or indirectly -- of the latest industry slowdown.
From Alaska to Texas, oil hubs have adopted measures to weather the volatility of the crude industry -- but while some cities have had to trim budgets and put projects on hold, others say they have yet to see any major impacts from the slowdown.
Even Dickinson, on the fringes of the Bakken, hasn’t been immune. Communities across western North Dakota have had to adjust to lower-than-anticipated state funding after amendments were made to both a surge bill to speed up projects in the Oil Patch this year and the oil tax formula bill.
DICKINSON, N.D. -- For about six months after moving to Dickinson in August, Djorboah Mensah had good work at a Dickinson motel, cleaning rooms often filled with oilfield workers by the block.
But as oil prices dropped, companies laid off employees, and fewer and fewer workers needed places to sleep. Mensah lost his job in January.
"When it picks up they will call me," he said.
BISMARCK, N.D. – A bill designed to return a bigger share of oil tax revenue to counties, cities, schools and townships unanimously passed the Senate on Monday after Republicans rejected an amendment by Democrats to boost the local share if oil production increases.
The Democrats’ “contingency” amendment to House Bill 1176 would have sent 40 percent of the production tax revenues to political subdivisions in oil-producing counties in the second half of next biennium if average daily oil production hit 1.2 million barrels a day by February 2016.
“Instead of surging once every two years to catch up with the needs that have accumulated and grown out of hand, this contingency amendment really does coalesce around that bipartisan principle … to address the needs in real time,” said Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks.
BISMARCK--Democrats will offer an amendment on the oil production tax distribution bill Monday that would increase the share oil-impacted political subdivisions get if production tops 1.2 million barrels a day.
BISMARCK -- The State Oil and Gas Division has taken action against five oil companies that are flaring more gas than is allowed under the state’s new gas flaring order and policies.
Starting this month, the companies were ordered to choke down production to 100 barrels per day on certain wells or face potential daily penalties.
WILLISTON, N.D. – North Dakota sends more oil by rail to East Coast refineries than all other areas of the country combined, says new data from the Energy Information Administration.
The United States now ships more than 1 million barrels of oil per day by rail, with the Bakken accounting for about two-thirds of of it, compared with 55,000 barrels per day in 2010. The shipping increase, said the federal agency, is more than a 1,700 percent increase, including some shipments to Canada.
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 no.
And a scientist researching the issue says we don’t know yet.
So how is the public supposed to make sense of it all? We’ll try to break it down.
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