Energy

Using raw natural gas for enhanced oil recovery

May 25, 2018
Amy Sisk

Later this year, a pilot project will begin in the Bakken to use raw natural gas for enhanced oil recovery.

Denver-based Liberty Resources. Liberty is partnering with the Energy and Environmental Research Center on the pilot project.

"We had an opportunity here that's been utilized elsewhere in conventional oil reservoirs," said Liberty president and CEO Mark Pearson. "Now there is a low-cost opportunity here."

Pearson said this technique is used in Alaska, in vertical wells.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It’s been in business in the Williston Basin since 1980.

It started as Neset Consulting. It has now re-branded to simply “Neset”  -- because it has branched out into other areas of the oil industry.

Neset is owned 100 percent by Kathy Neset. Her firm has also received a national certification as a “Women’s Business Enterprise.”

Neset says she’s now working to attract more women into the oil and gas business.

"I'm trying to give a hand to that next young lady who is trying to come up in this industry," Neset said. "I want to show that person a way forward."

Oil and gas producers show optimism at the WBPC

May 23, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Optimism in North Dakota's oil industry.

"It's extremely high," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. "I'm sure a lot of that is being driven by a better oil price, as well as information from the Energy Information Agency that the Bakken has returned to be the best play for capital investment, in terms of productivity achieved for a single driling rig."

Helms said that’s due to continued improvement in the technology used in the Bakken.

Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck

May 22, 2018
Amy Sisk

The annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is underway in Bismarck this week.

"It's a bit of a celebration that we've all survived a very rough four-year period of time," said North Dakota Petroleum Council president Ron Ness. "The Bakken in back."

Ness said the WBPC is not just for oil industry professionals – but it’s also for developers.

"We know we're going to need more infrastructure and more housing," Ness said. "We want to show developers the longevity of  of the Bakken."

PSC: Kudos to MDU for natural gas expansion projects

May 21, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission are commending MDU for its natural gas expansion projects.

MDU is building a pipeline from the existing Alliance Pipeline to Gwinner, to serve the Doosan Bobcat plant. It is also building a pipeline to connect its Williston Basin line to the Viking pipeline in western Minnesota.

Some communities have said businesses won’t expand or locate because of a lack of natural gas service.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak has long pushed for natural gas expansion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The March numbers are in for oil and gas production in North Dakota’s Williston Basin.

While oil production was down slightly, signs point to record production by this summer.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms likes to have a theme for these monthly Director’s Cuts.

For the March report?

"Let's get ready to rumble," Helms said.

Helms said March was pretty cold, with a couple of snowstorms, and some windy days – all affected oil production. The March numbers were down about 3000 barrels a day from February.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Bismarck-based MDU Resources expects a project to bring natural gas to the Doosan Bobcat plant in Gwinner will be finished by this fall.

MDU will be building 21 miles of pipeline from the Alliance Pipeline to the Bobcat plant.

"Materials are being purchased, and will be delivered soon to the site," said MDU Resources president and CEO David Goodin. "Right-of-way is being secured."

Goodin said the project itself will only take about 60 to 90 days to build, once the preliminary work is done.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved ONEOK’s plans to convert an existing pipeline from natural gas to natural gas liquids.

The 45 mile, 12-inch diameter Cherry Creek pipeline runs from the Lonesome Creek gas plant to the Stateline gas plant. It will carry 50,000 barrels of the natural gas liquids daily.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said this will help companies reach their flaring reduction goals. And she said transportation by pipeline is safer than using trucks or rail cars.

"This is pretty volatile stuff," Fedorchak said. "This is the best way to do it."

The company planning to build the new oil refinery at Belfield has hired an engineering and construction firm to complete the “front end engineering and design” study for the refinery.

It’s being done in anticipation of the state Health Department giving the company the permit to construct the refinery.

"We are fairly certain there will be no substantial changes to that permit from the draft that was issued in December," said Meridian CEO William Prentice.

Prentice said he expects the final permits will be issued soon.

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