Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

The number of wells producing oil is at an all-time high in North Dakota at 13,876, but this isn’t translating into higher oil output.

The latest numbers released by the state show that oil production in May was above 1 million barrels of oil per day. But it was down just slightly from the month before despite more wells operating.

At his monthly press briefing Friday, mineral resources director Lynn Helms said the reason is two-fold.

A federal judge in Wyoming has temporarily stopped regulations governing fracking on federal lands from going into effect. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports for Inside Energy.

North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado have asked a federal judge in Casper, Wyoming to issue a preliminary injunction against the federal Bureau of Land Management’s new Hydraulic Fracturing Rule.

The rule is supposed to take effect June 24th. 

“We contend that the federal  government, through the BLM, is proceeding to usurp authority that belongs to the state of North Dakota, notwithstanding there are specific federal statutes that prohibit the federal government from regulating hydraulic fracturing,” said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Two groups of oil and gas producers have filed an injunction in the US District Court of Wyoming against the first ever federal rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. 

Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson reports.

In March, Wyoming sued the federal government claiming new regulations interfere with the state’s own existing regulations. Colorado and North Dakota joined that lawsuit soon after.

Mark Barron, one of the attorneys on the case, explained why Wyoming is leading the legal challenge: 

North Dakota is joining Wyoming’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management over its new fracking for rules for federal and tribal lands. Emily Guerin reports for Inside Energy.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says one of the major problems with the new rules is that they could dramatically lengthen the 10 months it now takes to get a drilling permit from the federal government.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is considering either filing its own lawsuit over the Bureau of Land Management’s new fracking rules – or intervening in an existing lawsuit.

The state’s  top oil regulator says the new federal rules will make it much more difficult for new wells to be fracked.

“We are 12,000 wells into a 60,000 well program here," state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms told the state Industrial Commission. "Maybe as many as a third of those 40,000 wells are at risk of the BLM denying a hydraulic fracturing permit.”


Mar 24, 2015

With oil prices still hovering at multi-year lows, companies are choosing to store, rather than sell their oil. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports for Inside Energy, it’s being stored in tanks and tankers... but also in the ground.

The first federal regulations addressing fracking on public lands are already facing a legal challenge. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports for Inside Energy.

The new regulations require things like the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking and more protections for groundwater. But industry says they unnecessarily duplicate existing state regulations and require the disclosure of confidential commercial information. Mark Barron is one of the attorneys suing the government on behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance.

Inside Energy: Below ground technology

Mar 20, 2015

With oil prices now at a six year low, oil companies have been idling hundreds of drilling rigs. For the wells that remain active, the key is getting more out of less...which is tricky because when you drill for oil, only around 5 percent of what’s underground is actually recovered.  That’s according to the US Energy Information Administration.  So at any given well, more than 90% of the oil is generally left underground!

The state Industrial Commission is on record saying the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule making on “frack fluids” is unnecessary.

The EPA issued an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” concerning chemicals that are used in fracking. An environmental group called “EarthJustice” – along with a number of other groups – asked EPA for rules.