Energy

The first wind farm hasn’t yet been built – but the developers of the Brady wind farm in Stark and Hettinger counties have proposed a second wind farm for that same area.

Brady II would be 150 megawatts. It would have up to 72 turbines.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is requiring the developer to submit the proposed locations for the wind turbines at least 30 days before the public hearing.

Drilling activity may have slowed in the Williston Basin.

But so-called “mid-stream” companies are still busy, planning and building pipelines, natural gas processing plants and other infrastructure.

"The midstream industry is a long-term industry," said North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad. "It has a long term vision of these projects. They're looking at the oil play with a five, 10, 15, 20-plus play in mind."

Kringstad said with current oil prices low, one might think the mid-stream companies may be a little hesitant.

Helms: February oil production drops slightly

Apr 15, 2016

The director of North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Department calls it a “pleasant surprise.”

Lynn Helms is talking about the February oil production numbers.

"Oil production was anticipated to drop again significantly," said Helms. "Yet in oly dropped about one-half of one percent, just slightly over 4000 barrels a day."

Helms says in February, the state produced just over 1.1 billion barrels of oil a day. He also says natural gas production also went up by about three percent – to nearly 1.7 billion cubic feet per day.

Experts say the slowdown in the oil patch is directly tied to the oil price.

So – what will it take to get the industry drilling and completing already drilled wells?

Gov. Jack Dalrymple told the recent state demographics conference in Bismarck – the industry calls $40 per barrel the break-even price. But he says it will take more than that.

"Somewhere around $45 a barrel, we should begin to see some wells being completed," Dalrymple said. "Certainly around $50 a barrel, there should be a lot more activity."

A proposal to define who can and cannot comment during oil and gas hearings is coming under fire. As Prairie Public's Emily Guerin reports, some worry the change would limit public involvement in oil and gas development.

PSC okays two new pipeline projects

Mar 24, 2016

The Public Service Commission has okayed two more pipeline projects in the oil patch.

One of the projects would carry 50,000 to 75,000 barrels of crude oil each day from a crude oil handling facility to the Tesoro Johnsons Corner Station, where it would  connect with the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. It will be built by Oasis Midstream Services. It would run 19 miles, and cost $13 million to build.

North Dakota Public Service Commission chairman Julie Fedorchak says one solution to get natural gas to communities now without gas is to use liquefied natural gas.

Fedorchak says some North Dakota communities are looking at that option. She says one company – Dakota LNG – produces the liquefied natural gas in North Dakota.

"They have excess supply, and are looking for more customers," Fedorchak told the Legislature's interim Economic Impact Committee. "They can truck the liquefied natural gas to the communities, and it then can be vaporized."

An oil company with a track record of spills has had another big one -- a large saltwater spill at an oil well pad outside of Williston. As Prairie Public’s Emily Guerin reports, it’s the 12th largest saltwater spill since the Bakken oil boom began.

Around 114,000 gallons of saltwater ran into a dry creekbed after breaching the berm on a well pad. The spill was likely caused by a broken valve on a pipeline, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Dustin Bergsing was a young, fit, bull rider from Montana. On a cold night in January 2012, he climbed to the catwalk on top of a 20 foot tall crude oil storage tank that was located on an oil well pad in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield. His job was to pop open the small hatch on top and drop a rope inside to measure the level of oil. Just after midnight, he was found dead by a co-worker, slumped on the catwalk.

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