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
WILLISTON, N.D. – While a new economic impact study shows that the oil and gas industry contributed $43 billion to North Dakota’s economy in 2013, it also highlights that several billion dollars left the state.
About half of what the oil industry spends to drill and complete new wells in North Dakota -- about $15 billion in 2013 -- was not captured in the state’s economy, according to the study by North Dakota State University researchers.
More than $7 billion generated from North Dakota oil and gas exploration in 2013 went to out-of-state companies that provided goods and services for drilling, fracking or well completion, the study says.
A new initiative spearheaded by Williston Economic Development aims to capture more of those dollars in North Dakota.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- They always said rules are made to be broken.
North Dakota officials on Tuesday clarified when oil companies are exempt from anti-flaring gas capture rules. Qualifying as "extenuating circumstances," they said, were right-of-way delays, safety issues and system upgrades.
Oil companies can also avoid production curtailments if flaring is caused by upgrades to improve gas capture in the future, like shutting down a gas plant in order to expand it.
In the face of mounting criticism and concern of the runaway gas that companies were flaring as they raced to get more valuable oil, the North Dakota Industrial Commission last year adopted new goals for how much of the gas is captured.The industry captured 78 percent of gas in January, exceeding the 2015 goal of 77 percent. It must next capture 85 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2016, and 90 percent starting Oct. 1, 2020.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The state of North Dakota may sue the federal government over its new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in the state.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps pressured water, chemicals and sand into shale to release oil and gas.
The rules -- the federal government's first regulation of fracking -- are unnecessary or inapplicable to North Dakota's geology or duplicate existing state rules, state Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the North Dakota Industrial Commission on Tuesday.
With rules already in place, N.D. may enter into agreement
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The U.S. Department of the Interior ended more than four years of work on Friday after releasing the final rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands.
For North Dakota, there's a lot to figure out in the 90 days before it goes into effect.
Many officials were still reading through the 395-page document Friday to find areas of concern, or where the regulations differed from North Dakota's.
North Dakota's Oil and Gas Division will likely enter into a memorandum of understanding for regulation, officials said, since it's one of the 15 states with existing fracking regulations and BLM lands.
Flaring, conditioning push against each other
BISMARCK, N.D. -- On one hand, Bakken oil producers are being told to quit flaring so much gas and, on the other, to start generating more gas.
This “push in the opposite direction,” as described by Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms, will officially start April 1 and probably last for another five years.
The push comes from an inherent conflict in two orders by the State Industrial Commission.
One order requires oil producers to gradually step down how much gas is flared at oil wells until no more than 10 percent of all gas is flared by 2020. At the same time, another order involves oil conditioning, which requires well operators to separate more gas from oil to make it safer for shipping.
RICHARDTON, N.D. — Mayor Frank Kirschenheiter said Richardtonians look at the growth in their town a certain way.
“We’d rather move forward than die,” he said. “... You go one direction in life, take your pick: If you’re not gonna go forward, you’re going backward.”
That attitude is helping the city thrive as major companies stake out Richardton for various oilfield-related projects, and the city finishes up its new city hall.
SBG Energy Services LLC will begin work this construction season on a $50 million rail terminal a half-mile east of town. The Grand Forks (N.D.) based company will offer rail transloading for the agriculture and oil industries,
MAXBASS, N.D. – A company involved in a legal action with a Bottineau County landowner reported another spill Wednesday at the same saltwater disposal well with a history of spills.
Petro Harvester reported that a piping connection leak caused 285 barrels, or nearly 12,000 gallons, of brine to release from the Peterson 2 saltwater disposal well, said the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division.
The well, about six miles north of Maxbass, is on property owned by Daryl Peterson, who has long complained that brine spills involving that same location have not been properly cleaned up.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing,” Derrick Braaten, a Bismarck attorney representing Peterson, said of the latest spill.
New project has upgraded materials, monitoring, Meadowlark Midstream says
WILLISTON, N.D. – The company responsible for the largest saltwater pipeline spill in North Dakota’s history answered questions Wednesday about lessons learned as it proposes to build new crude oil pipelines in the state.
Meadowlark Midstream and Epping Transmission Co., both subsidiaries of Summit Midstream, presented to the North Dakota Public Service Commission plans for a 14-mile transmission pipeline in Williams County.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Based upon the dwindling number of operational rigs, North Dakota oil workers could face 1,000 to 1,200 more layoffs as a national storage shortage threatens an already low crude oil price, according to North Dakota's top oil regulator.
“I think we’ve seen the worst of it,” Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said of layoffs.
FARGO, N.D. -- Swarms of earthquakes have been rattling Oklahoma, Texas and other central states with a history of little or no seismic activity. The recent quakes, according to scientists, may be the fault of deep underground injections of wastewater left over from fracking.
But in North Dakota, where wastewater injection wells are abundant, the ground has remained largely unshaken.
So why are other oil-producing regions significantly more wobbly?
Development may bring first supermarket to town
BELFIELD, N.D. -- Crews will break ground this spring on the first phase of the biggest development Belfield -- along a key crossroad in the oilfields of western North Dakota -- has ever seen.
Just north of Interstate 94, American Landmark Group is planning a multi-use development that its partners say could jumpstart development farther north of the Stark County town that also runs along another key road in the Oil Patch -- U.S. Highway 85 that takes traffic to Williston and Watford City to the north. The road to the south leads to the Black Hills of South Dakota..
"We're platted, we're ready to go," said Mitch Beckstead, managing partner of Salt Lake City-based ALG.
BELFIELD, N.D. -- Troy Ohlhausen never lets the needle on his pickup's speedometer go beyond 10 mph when he's on an oilfield site -- even if the site where he's driving is nothing more than a simulation.
DICKINSON, N.D. -- It’s been referred to as the most significant drug threat facing the state, the dark side of the oil boom, an unwanted side effect of the sudden arrival of people to the Bakken, and with them, money.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- A North Dakota poll commissioned by two environmental watchdog groups finds that a majority of residents wants more stringent rules for flaring natural gas from oil wells.
The Dakota Resource Council and the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club hired the Social Science Research Institute at the University of North Dakota to learn how North Dakotans feel about paying mineral owners for flared gas and about rules for how long companies can legally flare their gas.
WILLISTON, N.D. – State officials are investigating about 100 filter socks that were improperly disposed of in north Williston, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday.
Clean-up is expected to begin today to remove the new and used filter socks discovered by a citizen who reported the oilfield waste to authorities on Monday, said department spokeswoman Alison Ritter.
Used filter socks, a waste product of oil and gas production, contain low levels of naturally occurring radioactive waste and need to be transported out of state for disposal under current rules.
The filter socks were on trailers parked next to a shop within Williston city limits.
Green Diamond Environmental Services rents the location where the filter socks were found and agreed to cover the cost of cleanup and disposal which owner Lee Farris said is more than $12,500.
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