Drilling the Heart River-Bakken PoolA Montana company has applied for several orders to explore western North Dakota’s natural gas and oil potential, making it one of the first companies to drill in the Heart River-Bakken Pool, officials said.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
A Montana company has applied for several orders to explore western North Dakota’s natural gas and oil potential, making it one of the first companies to drill in the Heart River-Bakken Pool, officials said.
Fidelity Exploration and Production Co. of Glendive, Mont., applied for an order amending field rules to allow the flaring of gas and unrestricted production of oil from wells not connected to a gas-gathering facility until the wells can be connected.
Fidelity also presented two applications for pooling all interests in the approximately 24,320-acre Heart River-Bakken Pool, located between Dickinson and South Heart, and two applications in the New Hradec-Bakken Pool.
“It’s a pretty routine and regular procedure being done all over the Bakken,” said Tim Rasmussen, Fidelity spokesman. “The Heart River-Bakken Pool is a new development area, meaning our wells are the first ones in that area.”
The North Dakota Industrial Commission held hearings Thursday for the applications at the Oil and Gas Division in Bismarck. No one testified at the hearing and representatives from Fidelity were not present. Rasmussen said Fidelity did not need to be present since there were no objections.
Natural gas can be flared for a limited time depending on permits, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. Rasmussen said the goal is to capture it.
“Oil and gas producers want to capture as much of the energy as possible,” Rasmussen said.
Since natural gas is a vapor, it cannot be transported by truck, said Ron Ness, North Dakota Petroleum Council president. It must be transported via pipeline.
Infrastructure has not been set up for capturing natural gas in North Dakota, Rasmussen said.
“You see all over the Bakken, and all over North Dakota, there is flaring going on,” Rasmussen said. “Flaring is a short-term necessity until the infrastructure is put into place to gather and handle the energy that is produced.”
North Dakota has five gas processing plants across the state, said Bruce Hicks, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources assistant director. Oil and gas companies are also constructing pipelines to transport natural gas.
Ness said it takes time to construct pipelines, and the winter weather doesn’t help. He added North Dakota is making “tremendous strides” towards capturing gas.
“The industry is doing everything it can, including spending $3 billion on infrastructure, which is an unprecedented amount,” Ness said. “We are very confident that the infrastructure is on the way.”
Hicks said 30 percent of North Dakota natural gas is flared. He added he would like to see all gas captured and used, but it is not realistic. The process must be done carefully.
“By shutting it in and not allowing any flaring, you may turn back those investors and put doubt in their mind that they’re going to have enough gas to make it a profitable venture to put in the gas plant and infrastructure,” Hicks said.
Fidelity plans to connect to the Belfield gas processing plant in June. Whiting Oil and Gas Corp., which owns the Belfield plant, said it is interested in working with third-party groups if agreements are reached.