Energy

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved some tweaks to the Commission’s natural gas flaring rules.

"We think that refocusing our efforts on stranded gas, and on people who are not meeting gas capture goals, while keeping the goals in place and keeping their feet to the fire, is the right way to go," said state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms.

Infrastructure issues in the Oil Patch

Apr 17, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota's oil patch could see some issues with a lack of infrastructure to get oil and natural gas to market.

Since the Dakota Access Pipeline was completed, the premium charged against Bakken crude oil has dropped.

It was at its highest when a lot of oil was being transported by rail – and that meant discounts were taken because of transportation costs.

But as oil production is expected to increase, North Dakota could see a swing again toward rail transport of crude.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission will be looking at what state mineral resources director Lynn Helms calls “tweaks” to its natural gas flaring policy.

Helms said the oil and gas industry is recommending the Commission keep the rules in place for both reservation and non-reservation lands, and wants the Commission to stick with its gas capture goals. But Helms said the rules might change when it comes to “stranded gas.”

Five natural gas processing projects in the Bakken

Apr 12, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved the expansion of an existing natural gas processing plant north of Killdeer.

OneOK’s Bear Creek plant will increase its capacity from 80 million cubic feet per day to 175 million cubic feet per day.

There are five projects underway or pending to expand or build gas processing in the Bakken.

"It's a major, major increase in North Dakota's gas processing capabilities," said PSC Chairman Randy Christmann. "It's going to take trucks off the road, reduce flaring and enhance the value of our gas production."

Dave Thompson

Xcel Energy has filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission to collect an incentive payment for meeting reliability standards.

The incentive was part of a rate case several years ago. Xcel was having problems with power outages in the Fargo area. The incentive was added to that case, so if Xcel would reduce the number of outages, it would be eligible for the incentive. And the incentive would be between $250,000 and $1 million.

Under that rate case, if a customer experienced three or more outages in a year not due to weather, Xcel would pay $50.

“Unlocking 800 years of Energy.”

That was the theme for the annual Lignite Energy Council meeting, held in Bismarck.

Council vice-president Steve Van Dyke said he can sense optimism among the state’s coal industry, as well as its partners that use lignite for electric power generation.

Natural gas plant expansion approved by PSC

Mar 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A natural gas plant in McKenzie County has been given the green light to expand.

Arrow Field Service’s Arrow Bear Den plant will go from processing 30 million cubic feet of gas per day to 150 million cubic feet per day.  The expanded plant will produce natural gas liquids.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus said he expects a lot more of these kinds of projects in western North Dakota, as gas production continues to ramp up.

PSC approves produced fuels pipeline upgrade

Mar 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has given its approval to Cenex to build a new produced fuels pipeline – to bring mainly diesel fuel from its Laurel, Montana refinery to Minot.

It’s a 181 mile pipeline. It replaces an existing 8 inch diameter pipeline with a 10 inch diameter pipeline. The line being replaced would run from Sidney, Montana to Minot. The PSC has jurisdiction over 150 miles of the new pipeline, in Williams, Mountrail and Ward Counties.

The new pipeline would carry 38,000 barrels a day – with a potential expansion to 60,000 barrels a day.

MDU buys expansion of SW ND wind farm

Mar 2, 2018

Bismarck-based Montana Dakota Utilities is buying an expansion of a wind farm in southwestern North Dakota.

MDU already owns the Thunder Spirit Wind Farm – first phase. It’s a 107.5 megawatt farm with 43 turbines. Allete Clean Energy developed it, and is developing the second phase, which will add another 16 turbines, and produce another 48 megawatts.

MDU had a power purchase agreement with an option to buy it outright.

Natural gas flaring on Ft. Berthold remains an issue

Feb 16, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The flaring of natural gas in North Dakota dropped to 13 percent in December.

In November, that figure was 14 percent.

The highest amount of flaring comes from wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation, where 20 percent of gas was flared.

The state has an overall goal of reducing flaring to 12 percent by November. But state mineral resources director Lynn Helms said that may be tough to do. He said the one big impediment is securing rights-of-way on Bureau of Indian Affairs controlled land for new natural gas gathering pipelines.

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