natural gas

Prairie Public file

The Public Service Commission has agreed to delay the formal hearings into MDU’s request for a natural gas rate increase.

The original hearing was scheduled to start February 28th. It is now scheduled to begin May 30th.

MDU has asked for a 5.4 percent rate increase – and that would bump up the average customer’s monthly gas bill by just under $3 a month.

The utility asked for the delay, as it figures out how the new federal tax cuts factor into that rate.

PSC to consider natural gas processing plant expansion

Feb 15, 2018
Prairie Public file

An Oklahoma-based natural gas processing company is proposing  a major expansion of one of its western North Dakota plants.

OneOK wants to increase the capacity of its Bear Creek plant in Dunn County. If the project gets Public Service Commission approval, it would go from 80 million cubic feet of gas per day to 175 million cubic feet of gas per day.

"It's obviously a response to the increase in natural gas production in the Bakken," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "Companies are trying to move quickly to respond to that added gas production."

Industrial Commission denies flaring exemption

Jan 25, 2018
Dave Thompson

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has turned down an oil company’s request for relief from the state’s natural gas flaring restrictions.

Marathon Oil had asked for the exemptions for a number of wells on or near the Fort Berthold Reservation. State mineral resources director Lynn Helms told the Commission Marathon asked for it due to “operational constraints and system design limitations.”

"The pipes are too small," Helms told the Commission. He recommended the Commission deny the request.

"This is exactly counter to your gas capture policy," Helms said.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

For his monthly "Director's Cut" production report -- which reflects November production -- state mineral resources director Lynn Helms was upbeat.

"(It's) probably the most optimistic outlook we've had in a year or so," Helms told reporters.

In November, the state produced 1,194, 120 barrels of oil a day. The state’s all time high was 1,227,483 a day. That record was set in December, 2014.

"Sometime in the first half of this year, we should break that record and start setting record production again," Helms said.

Submitted photo

A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said while she’s glad OneOK is planning to build a new natural gas liquids pipeline to carry Bakken NGLs, she’s a little concerned that there may not be a supply for any potential petro-chemical industry development in North Dakota.

One OK is planning to build the $1.4 billion, 900 mile Elk Creek pipeline from eastern Montana to Kansas.

New natural gas plant planned for McKenzie County

Dec 21, 2017
Dave Thompson

Another natural gas plant is being planned for McKenzie County.

Arrow Field Services is proposing the Bear Den Gas Processing Plant Two. The first plant produces 30 million cubic feet of gas per day. Phase two would add another 120 million cubic feet.

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing on the siting for the plant.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said the plant will be supplied with gas from the Ft. Berthold Reservation.

"The natural gas recovery from the reservation wells is 69 percent," Kroshus said. "That means 31 percent is being flared off."

ND Department of Mineral Resources

Oil production in September ticked up again.

Production that month went back over 1.1 million barrels a day.

"It's been a year and a half since we saw production over 1.1 million barrels a day," said North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms in his monthly "Director's Cut" report. "The last time was March of 2016."

But natural gas production dropped slightly, meaning more gas was flared.

"That hasn't happened since November, 2014," Helms said.

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."

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