Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 580-6890.
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WATFORD CITY, N.D. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued serious safety violations to three companies after an investigation into a flash fire at a North Dakota oil well site last June that killed one worker and severely burned three others near Watford City. OSHA issued citations to the well's operator, XTO Energy, and the two servicing companies, Most Wanted Well Service and Sherwood Enterprises, following the investigation of the June 18 incident.
BELFIELD, N.D. — New North Dakota pipeline rules will give state regulators greater oversight of repairs to the Belle Fourche Pipeline that spilled more than 176,000 gallons of oil this month. Regulations that take effect Jan. 1 require companies to notify the state Oil and Gas Division if they plan to repair or replace crude oil gathering pipelines, allowing state inspectors to observe the construction process. The rules also enable state inspectors to witness tests performed on the pipeline to check the integrity of the line before it's returned to service.
WASHINGTON — A Standing Rock Sioux Tribe representative said the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy served as a springboard for discussion this week during a listening session with the Donald Trump's transition team and tribal leaders. Chad Harrison, member of the Standing Rock Tribal Council, was among tribal leaders from around the country who participated in a listening session Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Washington.
BELFIELD, N.D. — Crews at the Belle Fourche Pipeline spill near Belfield are doing tests to see if burning the spilled oil will be a viable cleanup option. Contractors were working in coordination with the North Dakota Department of Health to isolate an area and attempt to burn some of the oil that has contaminated Ash Coulee Creek, a tributary of the Little Missouri River, said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager.
WILLISTON, N.D. — North Dakota oil production increased 7.4 percent in October, bringing daily production back above 1 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday, Dec. 13. The state produced an average of 1,043,207 barrels per day in October, preliminary numbers show. The large increase followed two months of production declines that brought North Dakota oil production below 1 million barrels per day. North Dakota now has 13,457 producing oil and gas wells, a new all-time high based on the preliminary figures.
BELFIELD, N.D. — Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. estimates that 130,200 gallons of oil spilled into a tributary of the Little Missouri River last week and another 46,200 gallons leaked into a hillside, the North Dakota Department of Health said Monday, Dec. 12 The spill discovered by a landowner on Dec. 5 has contaminated 5.4 miles of Ash Coulee Creek, said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager. The total spill estimate of 4,200 barrels, or 176,400 gallons, is a "rough estimate" provided by the company, Suess said.
BELFIELD, N.D. — About 50 contractors and other staff were on site Thursday, Dec. 8, continuing to clean up after a pipeline spill leaked an unknown amount of oil this week into a tributary of the Little Missouri River, a company representative said. Wendy Owen, spokeswoman for True Companies, said additional staff are expected to arrive Friday as cleanup efforts and an investigation into what caused the spill into Ash Coulee Creek continue.
BISMARCK — Oil and gas royalty owners are seeing more deductions from their checks but companies aren't adequately explaining why, a former North Dakota state representative said. Bob Skarphol, a Republican from Tioga who recently retired from the Legislature, is asking the North Dakota Industrial Commission to protect royalty owners by requiring companies to clearly explain deductions and adjustments on royalty statements. "They're so convoluted and complex that the average person can't understand them," Skarphol said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota is joining a lawsuit that seeks to block a federal rule related to reducing flaring, venting and leaking of natural gas on federal lands. North Dakota is intervening in a lawsuit filed by the states of Wyoming and Montana against the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the agency's venting and flaring rule from taking effect Jan. 17.
BISMARCK — Gov. Jack Dalrymple outlined a budget proposal Wednesday, Dec. 7, that includes cuts such as reducing the number of state employees to balance a budget affected by a collapse in commodity prices but invests in key priorities and builds reserves. The proposal recommends a $13.48 billion total budget for 2017-19, similar to the state's budget four years ago. It includes $4.78 billion in general fund spending, a 21 percent reduction from the current biennium.