Oil well to be confiscatedIn an area booming with oil activity, an oil well drilled in Stark County in November 2007 has been scheduled for confiscation by the North Dakota Oil and Gas Commission.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
In an area booming with oil activity, an oil well drilled in Stark County in November 2007 has been scheduled for confiscation by the North Dakota Oil and Gas Commission.
“This is not common at all,” said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Department of Mineral Resources, in an e-mail. “Occasionally an operator is forced into bankruptcy and can’t fulfill their obligation to plug and reclaim a well.”
Glenn Wollan, field supervisor for the North Dakota Oil and Gas Commission, said the well, operated by Baleen LLC, has never produced results. It is located about 12 miles southeast of Dickinson.
“They drilled this, tried to make it a producer, it didn’t produce,” Wollan said. “After a certain period of time it falls under one of our rules which is the abandonment of wells rule.”
Wollan said a well can only be inactive for a certain amount of time and after that, the rule comes into play, Wollan said.
“They were notified of that and weren’t taking care of it,” Wollan said. “We weren’t getting a satisfactory response from the operator.”
Wollan said Baleen LLC does not owe the state any money.
“It is our understanding that they are in Chapter 7,” Helms said.
When a well is abandoned, it must be plugged by placing plugs in the well bore to isolate any perforations, Wollan said.
“If the commission has to plug that well we want to recoup any equipment or money that we can get out of it to get it plugged,” Wollan said.
A hearing was scheduled for Nov. 17, however has been rescheduled for Dec. 6.
Helms said Industrial Commission actions such as confiscation require a public hearing beforehand. An order is then issued so all interested parties “can be notified and have opportunity to be heard.”
Once the Industrial Commission confiscates the well and its equipment, operatorship and equipment can be transferred “to a responsible operator,” Helms said.
An attorney for Baleen LLC said he was not at liberty to discuss anything in regards to the well.
A call to James Dire, a Texas resident whose working interest in Baleen LLC is unknown, went unreturned.