Energy

Natural Gas pipeline expansion project 'on track'

Oct 30, 2017

MDU Resources Group says it is making progress on its project to build a natural gas pipeline from the existing pipeline system near Mapleton to the Viking Gas Transmission Company pipeline near Felton, Minnesota.

It would be a 38 mile, 16-inch diameter pipeline.

"It's been demand-driven from the start," said MDU Resources spokesman Tony Spilde. "We're getting requests for more natural gas on the system."

Spilde said this project is going to enhance reliability for local distribution companies, from Bismarck to the Viking system near Felton.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota's Industrial Commission has given Marathon Oil permission to flare natural gas from 21 oil wells in Dunn County.

The wells are close to the Bear Creek natural gas processing plant. But state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms said the 21 are older wells, and they produce hydrogen sulfide.

"The Bear Creek plant is not designed to process hydrogen sulfide," Helms told the Commission. "It's designed to process sweet Bakken gas."

Helms said if the wells are going to continue to safely produce crude, the gas needs to be flared.

Less oil moving by rail from the Bakken

Oct 25, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

As the number of barrels of Bakken crude oil shipped by pipeline increases, the number of rail loading facilities in western North Dakota has dropped.

"During the height of the crude by rail activity in North Dakota, we had north of 20 rail loading facilities scattered throughout North Dakota," said North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad. "now it's consolidated to around 12 facilities that are still loading crude oil, primarily on trains headed to the west coast, and some to the east coast."

North Dakota’s coal regulatory and abandoned mine land programs have received high marks from the federal Office of Surface Mining.

The reports come from the year that ended June 30th.

The programs are under the Public Service Commission. Commission chairman Randy Christmann said the reports show North Dakota has a cost-effective program that doesn’t need any corrective action.

AARP has filed with the Public Service Commission to formally intervene in the latest Montana Dakota Utilities Company’s natural gas rate increase.

"This is the third natural gas rate increase for MDU in the last 4 years," said AARP state president Josh Askvig.

MDU is asking to raise its rates by 5.4 percent. That would mean $5.9 million. MDU will do this by raising the fixed rate cost – the cost charged just to bring the natural gas to the home. It would bring that cost to $22.58 a month. Askvig said four years ago, the charge was $9 a month.

Pipeline company gives to emergency responders

Oct 17, 2017
Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline stopped in Mandan on Tuesday evening as part of an effort to donate to emergency management departments in all four states the pipeline crosses.

 

Officials from three counties gathered at the Mandan Rural Fire Department with a handful of employees from Energy Transfer Partners to receive checks from the company for $20,000.

 

The pipeline company is donating $1 million to emergency responders across the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois.

 

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

 

Battles over oil pipelines and oil trains usually focus on the risks of accidents and spills, but a new study finds that air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from oil transportation take a greater financial toll.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

A federal judge has ruled the Dakota Access Pipeline can continue operations while the Army Corps of Engineers updates its environmental analysis.

Earlier this summer, judge James Boasberg found that the Corps fell short in analyzing the impact of a potential oil spill on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and its residents.

Oil wells transfer to new Bakken operators

Oct 10, 2017
Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

North Dakota officials have noticed an uptick in the number of oil wells transferring ownership in the Bakken.

Nearly 700 wells are in the process of being transferred from longtime North Dakota operators to new ones, mineral resources director Lynn Helms said Tuesday in his department’s monthly oil and gas briefing.That number’s unusual given that, recently, only 100 wells were transferred in a typical month.

“Companies have re-evaluated their business model and decided to focus on an area where they’re having greater success,”  Helms said.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The Dakota Access Pipeline is raising the price of Bakken crude and making it more competitive with other shale plays, according to North Dakota officials.

For years, the state’s remote location hurt Bakken producers.

It cost a lot to ship the state’s crude hundreds of miles to market on trains, compared to oil from places like Texas that doesn’t have to travel far to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

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