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Press Photo by April Baumgarten A flare from the Whiting Oil gas processing plant, located south of Belfield, burns natural gas on July 30.

Hearing set on treatment of N.D. crude oil before transport

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Energy Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

BISMARCK – North Dakota regulators have set a special hearing for Sept. 23 to gather input on the safe transportation and marketability of crude oil.


The state Department of Mineral Resources’ Oil and Gas Division will host the hearing at 9 a.m. at its offices at 1000 E. Calgary Ave. in Bismarck.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission, which oversees the Department of Mineral Resources, voted Aug. 6 to schedule the public hearing, after the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a report July 23 that found Bakken crude oil has a higher gas content, higher vapor pressure, lower flash point and boiling point “and thus a higher degree of volatility than most other crudes in the U.S., which correlates to increased ignitability and flammability.”

A separate study commissioned by the North Dakota Petroleum Council yielded similar data to the government’s study but concluded that Bakken crude is similar to other North American light, sweet crudes and doesn’t pose a greater risk to transport by rail than other crudes and transportation fuels.

The Industrial Commission will consider input from the hearing as it weighs possible amendments to field rules related to the treatment of crude oil from the Bakken, Three Forks and Sanish pools.

Among other topics, the commission is seeking input on the optimum operation of crude oil treaters, oil tank settling time prior to shipment, methods of reducing light hydrocarbons in crude oil and studies on crude oil quality and safety.

Those wishing to provide testimony must sign up in the hearing room, starting at 8 a.m. There’s a 15-minute limit on testimony.

Written comments also may be submitted to before 5 p.m. Sept. 22.