Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—North Dakota oil production jumped 5.4 percent in April to more than 1.2 million barrels per day, coming in just shy of the state's record. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms called it a big surprise to see production levels within 2,500 barrels of the all-time high of nearly 1.23 million barrels per day. "We were not expecting that kind of a surge until late May, early June," Helms said Friday while discussing the preliminary figures.
BISMARCK—An air quality permit has been issued for an oil refinery that has drawn opposition for its proximity to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday, June 13. But Meridian Energy is facing potential appeals or legal challenges from multiple fronts, as conservation groups said Wednesday they are reviewing the permit and weighing their next steps. Also Wednesday, the Dakota Resource Council filed a court complaint against Meridian Energy alleging the company's zoning permit from Billings County is not valid.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota wind project that raised concerns with wildlife officials about impacts to habitat is moving forward this summer after the developer made a $557,000 payment to Ducks Unlimited. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department wrote in comments to state utility regulators that a considerable portion of the Foxtail Wind Project in Dickey County would affect native, unbroken prairie that is vital to declining wildlife populations.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is working to reduce the impact of wind development on wildlife habitat, but the agency's process to develop new guidelines has drawn opposition from the state's energy and agriculture industries. Game and Fish has proposed voluntary guidelines that aim to steer wind developers away from erecting turbines and building roads in wildlife habitat areas. The recommendations also outline a process for companies to offset their impact to habitat through projects that restore or reconstruct habitat elsewhere.
CROSBY, N.D. — A valve or piping connection leak caused an estimated 1,796 barrels, or 75,432 gallons, of brine to leak at a saltwater disposal well over the weekend in Divide County, the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division said Monday, June 4. Goodnight Midstream discovered the spill Saturday at a well 8 miles west of Crosby and reported it to regulators on Sunday. The spill was contained on the facility location within the diking around the saltwater disposal well, a spill report shows.
BISMARCK — A journalist arrested last year while covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest was found not guilty Friday, June 1, of criminal trespass after a daylong court trial. South Central Judicial District Judge Thomas Schneider said journalist Jenni Monet complied with law enforcement orders while reporting on the demonstration and he doesn't believe she knowingly broke the law.
BELFIELD, N.D. — A proposal to expand U.S. Highway 85 in western North Dakota continues to get mixed reviews, with some saying it's needed to improve safety and others worried about impacts to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The North Dakota Department of Transportation is holding three public hearings this week on a plan to expand the highway from two to four lanes between Watford City and Interstate 94. It's still not known how the estimated $479 million project would be paid for or when construction would start.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's top oil regulator says a recent court ruling won't affect the public's ability to comment on a Missouri River survey required by a new law that aims to resolve disputes over mineral ownership. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said his office has received several inquiries from people confused about the impact of a lawsuit that challenges a state law approved last year.
BISMARCK—North Dakota oil production is expected to return to record levels this summer, but executives of top Bakken companies said Thursday, May 24, they expect the resurgence to be slow and steady. "We're taking a real disciplined approach to development," said Brad Holly, president and CEO of Whiting Petroleum. "We've had enough booms and busts. We need to get this one right." Whiting, now the No. 3 North Dakota oil producer after selling some assets during the downturn, has five drilling rigs operating in the state with no immediate plans to add more.
BISMARCK—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum shared similar visions Wednesday, May 23, for regulating oil development, focused on partnering with industry to spur innovation. "I don't think the government should be in a position to be an adversary," Zinke said as he delivered the keynote speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. "We have to, as Interior, be a better partner. We have to work with industry."