Energy

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.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

With the Clean Power Plan out, officials in North Dakota say they are still committed to finding ways to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

They’re eyeing a project under construction in Texas to build a zero-emission gas plant, a small-scale version of the Allam Cycle outside Houston that’s slated to fire up next year.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

Officials across coal-rich states are cheering an announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency will withdraw the Clean Power Plan. Now, attention turns to how the nation will address greenhouse gas emissions going forward.

The rule put in place by the Obama administration would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030. The state’s coal industry worried this would force utilities to shut down some coal-fired power plants and, subsequently, the coal mines that feed lignite to these facilities.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Public Service Commissioners say they may have to ask the 2019 Legislature for more staff to inspect natural gas pipelines.

Right now, the state has 1 and ½ positions for that inspection.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said the concern is the federal requirement of the number of inspection days.

"By the year 2020, we will have to demonstrate that we will be able to conduct 210 inspection days in the field," Kroshus said. "We're currently at 136."

Kroshus said the main reason for more inspection days is a growing natural gas infrastructure.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s lignite coal industry has ambitious -- and pricey -- plans to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which industry leaders highlighted Thursday at a conference in Bismarck.

DAPL costs still being tallied

Sep 26, 2017
Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

Bills continue to come in for costs incurred by the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

The state’s Emergency Commission has approved another $5 million in borrowing authority from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to cover the costs. That puts the amount of borrowing authority at over $40 million.

Meanwhile, that commission has given its OK to receive $10 million in federal grant funds for the DAPL protest. That money will be used to pay back the Bank for loans.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It was a number of years in the making – but MDU will be bringing natural gas to the Bobcat plant in Gwinner.

MDU will build a 21 mile pipeline from the existing Alliance pipeline – and that will bring natural gas to Gwinner,  Milnor and other cities in Sargent County. Bobcat has signed a 15 year agreement to use the natural gas.

“This was a bridge too far,” Doosan Bobcat North America President Rich Goldsbury said during a ceremony at the Bobcat plant in Gwinner. “This was something we didn’t think we could make happen. But, god darn it, we got it to happen.”

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline have reached a settlement over some reported problems with the company following the siting permit the PSC issued for the pipeline.

The problems included taking out more trees and shrubs along the route than outlined in the permit. Also, Energy Transfer Partners re-routed a part of the line away from cultural resources. The company notified the State Historic Preservation Office, but did not tell the PSC.

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