Amy R. Sisk / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — As pump jacks pull more and more oil out of shale rock buried deep below the western part of the state, an increasing amount of natural gas travels up through the wells with few obvious destinations in North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Hearings are slated for early next week on a host of oil and gas rule changes before the North Dakota Industrial Commission, several of which seek to halt the growing number of abandoned wells. Statewide, 639 oil wells are considered abandoned, state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said at the Wednesday, Oct. 2, meeting of the Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by the governor. The number has risen in recent years amid low oil prices, as companies decide to stop operating less-profitable wells.
BISMARCK — When Scott Wirth took the job of human resource manager at Roers three years ago, he had no trouble finding carpenters and laborers for construction projects. “We had people walking in the door every other day filling out applications,” he said. “I almost joked the first year, there’s not a whole lot of recruiting I have to do.”
BISMARCK — North Dakota's Public Service Commission has granted permits allowing an existing oil pipeline in McKenzie County to operate as a transmission line after its owner converted it from a gathering line without first obtaining approval from state regulators. The 20-mile line operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. became a transmission line after the company built a different pipeline in 2017 that connects to a common facility. The project led to changes in pressure and storage, causing the 20-mile line to fall under PSC jurisdiction.
A federal study examining the volatility of Bakken oil is giving North Dakota officials encouragement in their petition to overturn a Washington state law that targets oil train shipments. A study completed by Sandia National Laboratories concluded this month that “vapor pressure is not a statistically significant factor” in determining the fiery characteristics of oil train crashes. “The net result is Bakken oil is no different than any other kind of oil with respect to volatility,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said.
BISMARCK — With construction on the first large-scale solar farm in North Dakota slated to begin next year, state regulators are creating a rule that spells out steps for one day dismantling such facilities. The rule proposed by the Public Service Commission would require companies that operate solar farms to submit decommissioning plans.
RENVILLE, N.D. — Wheat, corn and bright yellow canola sprawl out across the flat prairie this time of year in Bottineau County, broken up every so often by a patch of barren land. Wildcatters first hit oil here in the 1950s, bringing jobs to the region but also scarring the farmland by dumping brine into evaporation pits dug into fields. Oil drilling still occurs today, and although the state has since outlawed the pits, pipelines leak saltwater on occasion.
BISMARCK — This year’s Bakken Conference and Expo showcases some high-tech solutions for solving pressing issues in North Dakota's oil patch, with speakers touting drones and a new use for excess natural gas that would otherwise be flared off at well sites. The head of a drone company headquartered in Grand Forks told an audience gathered in the Bismarck Event Center on Tuesday, July 16, that unmanned aircraft systems are becoming increasingly popular for use within the oil and gas industry.
WILLISTON, N.D. — A pipeline leak in Williams County spilled saltwater into a tributary of the Missouri River, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality reported Monday, July 15. The pipeline’s leak detection system notified the company about the spill, which happened on Sunday about 20 miles east of Williston, said Bill Suess, the state's spill investigation program manager.