Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK -- A bill related to high-level radioactive waste received support on Friday, Feb. 15, in the North Dakota Senate. Senate Bill 2037 sets up a framework for how the state would respond if the federal government ever designates North Dakota as a repository for nuclear waste. “This bill and its amendments are not an attempt to move nuclear waste to North Dakota,” said Sen. Jim Roers, R-Fargo, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
BISMARCK -- Oil companies that fail to cooperate with Department of Trust Lands audits could face fines of up to $1,000 per day under a bill unanimously approved Friday, Feb. 15, by the North Dakota Senate. The Department of Trust Lands has been struggling to complete audits of royalty payments because 20 percent of oil and gas operators have not provided documents requested by the state agency. In some cases, the department has been waiting years for the information, Land Commissioner Jodi Smith has said.
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Senate advanced a bill on Friday, Feb. 15, that seeks to deter people from tampering with pipelines and other critical infrastructure. Members voted 42-3 in favor of Senate Bill 2044, introduced in response to activists who tampered with an oil pipeline valve in northeast North Dakota in 2016. “We’re sending a clear message this is not something we can have happen here,” said Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, the primary sponsor of the bill.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota oil operators took advantage of mild December weather and produced a record 1.4 million barrels per day that month, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. While oil production grew nearly 2 percent, natural gas production jumped 5 percent in December to a record 2.65 billion cubic feet per day, according to the preliminary figures. “What a great way to end the year,” Director Lynn Helms said during his monthly update on Friday, Feb. 15. The previous high, 1.39 million barrels per day, was set in October.
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Senate took another step this week to resolve disputes over oil and gas mineral ownership under Lake Sakakawea, approving a second phase of study and extending the time frame for royalty owners to get paid. In 2017, legislators ordered a study of the historical ordinary high water mark of the Missouri River as it existed before the construction of the Garrison Dam, which created Lake Sakakawea. The study aimed to resolve uncertainty over the mineral ownership and set up deadlines for royalty and bonus payments to be distributed.
BISMARCK — A judge has ruled against the state of North Dakota in a lawsuit brought by an oil company over a gas royalty dispute. In a case being closely watched by the industry, Northwest Judicial District Judge Robin Schmidt ruled in favor of Newfield Exploration, which sued the state and the Board of University and School Lands last year.
MARMARTH, N.D. — A pipeline spill from an enhanced oil recovery system in Bowman County has contaminated Kid Creek, a North Dakota Department of Health official said Thursday, Feb. 14. Denbury Onshore reported about 75 barrels, or 3,150 gallons, of source water spilled on Feb. 7 about 10 miles south of Marmarth in the far southwest corner of the state. Source water is groundwater used for enhanced oil recovery that contains a higher level of dissolved solids and minerals than fresh water, but is lower in chlorides than produced water, the health department said.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota senators on Wednesday, Feb. 13, voted against a study aimed at decreasing the wasteful flaring of natural gas, which is at record high volumes in the state. Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, initially proposed Senate Bill 2332 to curb flaring by requiring companies to pay taxes and royalties on flared natural gas from wells that have flared for more than one year.
BISMARCK — Disputes over oil companies taking deductions from royalty payments are the focus of two bills in the North Dakota Senate, including one that would fine operators that fail to comply with state audits. Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, R-Williston, said he continues to get complaints from mineral interest owners about deductions taken from their royalty payments for transportation, processing and other categories.
BISMARCK — North Dakota is preparing to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking $38 million in costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. The federal government did not respond within six months to a claim North Dakota filed in July seeking compensation for law enforcement and other costs to respond to several months of protests.