Airport signs oil leaseDickinson’s Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport could see oil royalties flowing in after it recently signed a lease for its mineral rights.
Dickinson’s Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport could see oil royalties flowing in after it recently signed a lease for its mineral rights.
Airport Manager Matthew Remynse said the airport has 464 mineral acres on the airport, adding it owns 100 percent of what the company wants to lease.
“The airport did approve it contingent upon some stuff being included in the lease. And as part of that lease one of the things was they couldn’t have an on-surface occupancy,” Remynse said. “The reason behind that was anytime we put an oil well on the airport we fall under the federal regulations and part of the federal regulations is anytime you have an oil well on the airport you have to do what’s called an environmental assessment and that can be anywhere from a year to a three-year long process and we didn’t want to have to run into that so that’s why we requested a non-surface occupancy.”
Remynse said Williston-based Empire Oil approached the airport about leasing its mineral rights, but he would not disclose what payment amount the airport received for its contract.
No drilling commencement date has been set. The lease is a three-year term meaning the oil company can drill anytime within three years, Remynse said.
But, before any wells can be drilled, the Federal Aviation Administration must analyze the project.
“They can’t be on the airport but they’re going to have to develop what’s called a 7460 form … I’m actually trying to work with all the oil companies on because, from what I understand, there’s a lot of land getting leased up or a lot of acres getting leased up around the airport … that is a form that’s used to assure the airspace around the airport’s not being interfered with and that form goes up through the chain through the FAA,” Remynse said.
Tony Molinaro, FAA public affairs contact for the Great Lakes region, said depending where in the airport’s vicinity a well is drilled, the FAA will need to analyze any possible airspace issues.
“If we get everything we need right off the bat, it could be a few months,” Molinaro said. “If they’re drilling and think of it as construction, the bigger issue is … if there’s any things that are near where planes are taking off or landing then we really have to look at the airspace issues. They have to see that there’s no safety issues because of equipment or height of equipment or anything like that. If there’s stuff going underneath the airport, especially in any kind of movement areas, the key for us is that it doesn’t damage anything either under runways, taxiways or our own equipment.”
Remynse said Friday the Airport Board has not discussed what oil royalties would be used for if the well was producing.
“It is something we’re going to have to start looking at, what we’re going to utilize that money for if they were to hit oil and we were to start getting royalties,” Remynse said.
Molinaro said the Dickinson airport is a federally obligated airport as it has accepted federal grant money, meaning if the oil is on airport property, any royalties must be used to benefit the airport such as improvement projects.
But, if the oil is located adjacent or under property lines, Molinaro said that would have to be discussed.