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PSC approves CO2, natural gas liquids pipelines

Apr 2, 2020
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved a pipeline that will bring carbon dioxide from two natural gas plants in Wyoming to an oil field near Bowman.

The Cedar Hills field is a conventional oil field, with vertical drilling.

The CO2 will be used for tertiary oil recovery, meaning the CO2 would be injected to help get at oil that’s still underground.

Commission chairman Brian Kroshus called it an exciting project, because it will help the economy in Bowman and other cities in the area.

'North Bakken Expansion Project' awaiting federal OK

Mar 25, 2020

A pipeline company is awaiting federal approval of a plan to build 62 miles of natural gas pipeline in Williams, McKenzie, Mountrail and Burke Counties.

The project is known as the “North Bakken Expansion Project,” and is proposed by WBI Energy Transmission, a subsidiary of Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group.

The 24 inch diameter line would run from WBI Energy’s Tioga Compressor station to a new interconnect with the Northern Border Pipeline Company in McKenzie County. It would also include a new compressor station.

Xcel fined $12,000 for senior housing fire in 2019

Mar 6, 2020

Xcel Energy will pay a $12,000 fine for a natural gas leak that led to an explosion and fire at a Fargo senior living complex.

That fire happened January 4th, 2019 at Riverview Place. It damaged four of the 24 apartments. No one was hurt – but the building was evacuated for several hours.

The fine will be paid to the Public Service Commission.

"The gas was leaking, and wasn't vented properly," said PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus. "The gas made its way into the mechanical room. There was combustion."

Kroshus said this could have been a very serious situation.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Mineral Resource director Lynn Helms believes the state will soon meet the Industrial Commission’s goals for natural gas capture.

The goal was to capture 88 percent of the gas, starting last November. But as of December, the rate was only 84 percent.

In his recent "Director's Cut" briefing, which covered December production, Helms said he is optimistic that the 88 percent capture goal will be met – and it’s possible that may have happened in January.

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing in Williston on a proposal by ONEOK Bakken Pipeline to build a 75-mile-long, $100 million natural gas liquids pipeline in Williams County.

The pipeline would carry 30,000 barrels of NGLs from four natural gas processing plants in the area, connecting to existing NGL transmission lines in Montana.

"It's additional fill-in of the infrastructure needed to support natural gas processing industry, and ultimately to the reduction of flaring in the Bakken," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

New oil production record for ND

Dec 13, 2019

North Dakota's October oil and gas numbers are looking very good.

"It should be a very happy holiday for the state of North Dakota," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms, as he released his October "Director's Cut" report. "We set a new record in oil production -- first time ever over 1.5 million barrels a day. That's a 5 percent increase."

Helms said natural gas production was up 4 percent. But the percentage of goas being flared remained the same, due to the production increase.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Industrial Commission has given its okay to a pilot enhanced oil recovery project in Mountrail County.

The project would use natural gas.

Hess Corporation would be involved in an oil field near Ross.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms told the Commission Hess was involved in an earlier pilot – that failed because of a lack of natural gas. He said Hess will also be injecting a foam along with the gas.

Discussions are underway about having the Northern Border natural gas pipeline carry only North Dakota-produced gas.

Right now, the pipeline carries some Canadian gas.

But it's not that way.

"If we're going to take over 100 percent of the capacity of the Northern Border pipeline, and make it a North Dakota natural gas export pipeline, we're going to have to de-ethanize our gas," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.

That would mean taking the "ethane" out of the gas.

UND’s Energy and Environmental Research center will be studying how the chemical composition of natural gas liquids from the Bakken and Three Forks formations could change over the life of a well.

The study was requested by North Dakota Pipeline Authority Executive Director Justin Kringstad. It was approved by the state's Industrial Commission.

The director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority wants the Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND to look at how the chemical makeup of natural gas liquids changes over the life of an oil well.

"It's very high or rich in propane, butane and ethane," said Authority director Justin Kringstad.

In North Dakota’s Bakken and Three Forks formations, natural gas is a byproduct of oil drilling.

Kringstad said the question exists on whether this gas chemistry will change over time.