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Pipelines to be replaced

A local oil company intends to replace deteriorating and buried water injection pipelines that are more than 20 years old and in the process will leave the old ones in the ground.

Since a few sections of the pipeline are located on federal property, the U.S. Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands office in Dickinson is welcoming comments on the project, which must be received by Wednesday.

Hess Corp. is looking to replace two segments of pipeline used to transport disposal/injection water from a water transportation main line that flows to two injection sites in the Fryburg Heath Madison Unit oilfield in Billings County, south of Interstate 94 and southeast of Painted Canyon Visitors Center in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, according to a letter from the Medora Ranger District and District Ranger Ron Jablonski Jr.

"The existing line(s) would be flushed with fresh water, dewatered, purged with air pressure, sealed and abandoned in place," according to the letter.

Slated to be placed about five to ten feet on either side of the existing lines, the replacement lines would be buried about 5 feet deep, but exact locations will be determined during a field review, according to the letter.

Jablonski said such practice has occurred in the area for many years.

"The desire is to do as little ground disturbance as possible," Jablonski said. "If they're not going to use it anymore they're just going to bypass it rather than tear the ground up twice and just leave it where it's at. They can lay a line right next to this one and basically keep moving."

While the pipes can last 20 to 40 years, the replacement is being done as part of a proactive approach.

"We just have a program where we identify the pipe that needs to be replaced and we do it before it starts to fail," said John Griffin, a supervisor at Hess in Belfield.

Griffin said in a water flood system, water is injected down a well bore, pushing oil and gas to the producing well, maintaining reservoir pressure to keep oil and gas flowing to the producing wells.

"We have a water injection plant where we take our produced water from our wells and we pump it down a pipeline and then it's connected directly to an injection well and it goes down hole into an injection well," Griffin said.

Jablonski said pressure lines have improved considerably over the years.

The first section of fiberglass line to be replaced is about 2,850 feet long, about 24 years old and partly situated on federal land and some on private.

Located entirely on federal property, the second section to be replaced is about 3,200 feet long and about 20 years old.

Griffin said the project is estimated at about $100,000.

Written comments can be sent to Jablonski at 99 23rd Ave. W., Suite B, Dickinson, ND 58601.

Comments on the project can also be e-mailed to