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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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.
BELFIELD, N.D. — A pipeline leak caused a significant oil spill in a tributary of the Little Missouri River this week, but the volume of oil released was still unknown Tuesday, Dec. 6, as a winter storm affected response efforts. The incident was discovered by a landowner, raising questions about whether the oil pipeline in western North Dakota had a monitoring system to detect leaks.
DALLAS — The companies building the Dakota Access Pipeline said they remain committed to completing the project and expect to do so without rerouting the pipeline despite a decision from the federal government that denies the Lake Oahe easement.
WASHINGTON — Congressman Kevin Cramer said Sunday, Dec. 4, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will deny the Lake Oahe easement needed to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline south of Mandan, N.D. In response, Cramer criticized the Obama administration, calling Barack Obama "lawless."
NEW TOWN, N.D. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a $2.1 million fine for air pollution at oil and gas wells primarily on North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. But the settlement against Slawson Exploration Co. announced Thursday, Dec. 1, stems from just one of many enforcement actions underway against North Dakota operators for air quality violations.