Energy

PSC continuing negotiations with DAPL owners

Sep 11, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Negotiations continue between legal staff at the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the owners of the Dakota Access pipeline over what could be violations of the pipeline’s siting permit.

There are two areas of concern. One is the company’s rerouting of a portion of the pipeline to avoid culturally sensitive areas. The other is the company clearing more trees and brush along the pipeline route than it was authorized to do.  Both were done without PSC approval.

A hearing had been scheduled on the re-route – but was postponed to allow the negotiations to take place.

MDU granted interim natural gas rate increase

Sep 7, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MDU natural gas customers will soon see an increase on their monthly bills.

The Public Service Commission has approved an interim increase in natural gas rates. MDU had filed for increased revenues of $5.5 million -- a 5.4 percent rate increase. The PSC suspended that. But state law allows a utility to have an interim increase.

"The interim increase is $4.6 million, an overall increase of 4.2 percent," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "The monthly increase for a residential customer is approximately $2.44."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A program that required Xcel Energy to offer compensation to customers in the Fargo area for power outages has been extended through the end of 2017.

Under the plan, if a customer suffers three or more power outages in a year, that customer was eligible for a bill credit of $50. Xcel had filed earlier to end the program, saying it had made progress in replacing some older underground power lines – but the Public Service Commission decided it will keep it in place a little longer.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Hurricane Harvey is wreaking havoc on oil operations in the Gulf Coast, and even states far from the storm’s path are feeling its impact on the energy industry.

The hurricane has shuttered 22 percent of the nation’s refining capacity as Gulf refineries halt operations due to damage and flooding.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Attorneys for the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be meeting again to try and work out a settlement on a number of issues raised by the PSC.

It is alleged Energy Transfer Partners violated some of the terms of its siting agreement with the PSC. One deals with the company clearing away more trees and brush than allowed in the permit. Another deals with a re-route of the pipeline around culturally significant areas. It’s alleged the company did the re-route without notifying the PSC.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

When a company enters oil and gas country, it wants to know there’s enough oil and gas in the ground that business will be robust for a long time.

One way it gets that assurance? An estimate from the U.S. Geological Survey showing how much oil and gas remains untapped.

Officials in North Dakota are pushing the agency do this for its Bakken and Three Forks formations.

Back in 2008 the USGS did a study in the Bakken, concluding the shale play contained 3.7 billion barrels of oil available for operators to extract.

Lightning And Oil Country: A Volatile Mix

Aug 28, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Dozens of times during the summer as the rain picks up here on the prairie, suddenly, there’s a flash.

“You can be sitting there watching it, enjoying the night and all the sudden, boom!” said Kyle Chernenko, a resident of Grassy Butte.

Chernenko has watched these prairie thunderstorms his whole life from his home in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. He’s the volunteer fire chief in this small town.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and other groups it claims conspired against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Energy Transfer Partners says these groups spread false information about the company and pipeline project to raise donations. The pipeline developer claims they planted and funded "eco-terrorists."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has set a new date for an “investigative hearing” on what could be a violation of the siting approval issued to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A third party construction inspector says the pipeline’s builders removed more trees and shrubs than they should have, under the terms of the siting permit. A hearing was to be held Thursday. But the company asked for some time to work out a settlement with PSC staffers –and the Commission earlier voted 2-1 to grant an extension.

PSC postpones hearing on DAPL

Aug 15, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

On a 2 to 1 vote, the Public Service Commission has agreed to postpone Thursday’s hearing with the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A construction consultant says Energy Transfer Partners cleared more trees and brush than allowed in the pipeline’s siting permit. The Thursday hearing was billed as an “investigative” hearing, to look further into the matter and see if a complaint needed to be issued.

The company sent a letter to the Commission, saying it would be willing to work on a resolution of the case before it would get to a formal hearings. And the PSC agreed.

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