Oil company interested in drilling east of New EnglandOil drilling activity has begun to creep south in North Dakota as one company has taken interest in Hettinger County.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Oil drilling activity has begun to creep south in North Dakota as one company has taken interest in Hettinger County.
In July, Chesapeake Exploration, LLC of Oklahoma applied for a 1,280-acre drilling unit to be used for a horizontal well about 5 miles east of New England.
The space needed for drilling a well is 640 acres, but many new rigs apply for more space, which is what Chesapeake did.
Hettinger County Economic Development Director Mark Resner said there hasn’t been production in the county for more than 10 years.
“This is the first of the new wells,” he said. “It is a big deal down here; people are getting excited.”
North Dakota Industrial Commission Oil and Gas Division Assistant Director Bruce Hicks said the application is under review by the commission, but this is “the first step” toward drilling the hole.
The application would have to be granted approval by the commission before the project could move forward, Hicks said.
The Three Forks formation would be the target of the project. Hicks said there has been an increased interest moving into the southern counties, especially from operators who are relatively new to the Missouri basin.
“It is going to be interesting how play progresses to the south,” Hicks said.
Resner said he is expecting that New England would be “the next on the impact list” if the well were to be approved.
New England Mayor Marty Opdahl said he expects this will not be the last oil well in the county and that he wants to take a proactive approach to the possible changes in population increase.
“The oil industry moves in quickly and has an impact quickly,” he said. “You don’t want to react hastily, but you are going to have to act rather deliberately to do it right.”
Opdahl said it would provide more revenue for local businesses, but would also take a toll on roads and other infrastructure.
Hicks said it would be a while before the application would be decided on by the commission because it was not an expedited order. He added that Chesapeake would like to drill sometime this fall.