Oil Boom

EPA guidance on fracking delayed

Dec 28, 2012

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms says it may be a little while before the EPA will issue guidance on rules for hydraulic fracturing.

"Their initial goal was to finalize that rule by the end of this year," said Helms. "It's going to be, we think, close to mid-year next year before they can publish a final rule."

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” along with horizontal drilling, has spurred the oil boom in the Bakken. Helms says the US Forest Service has also proposed fracking rules – and he says both have received thousands of comments.

A new tool is available through the Department of Mineral Resources to help local governments make plans around drilling activity.

A new map available through the Department’s GIS mapping system shows drilling permit and drilling rig locations. It shows when a permit expires or can be renewed. And it identifies the operator.

Department spokesperson Alison Ritter says it also gives local leaders an idea where drilling rigs are headed next.

Bakken forecast: Fewer drilling rigs, continued growth

Dec 26, 2012

People in the oil patch may see a few changes in 2013.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms says people will see FEWER drilling rigs than there were in 2012.

"I do not anticipate at this stage of the game that we'll go above 218 rigs," said Helms. That 218 is a record, and was established in May. "That stressed our infrastructure beyond the maximum that it could handle."

Western North Dakota needs more power

Oct 24, 2012

A new study shows sharply increased electricity demand in western North Dakota’s Oil Patch.

As Prairie Public’s Dave Thompson reports, that demand is driven by continued oil development – and a growing population.

The study is called “The Williston Basin Oil and Gas Related Electrical Load Growth Forecast.” Governor Dalrymple says the study was done by KLJ Engineering at the behest of the state Industrial Commission.

Tesoro Mandan refinery adding capacity

Oct 23, 2012

Mandan’s Tesoro refinery has been expanding.

It just finished adding 10,000 barrels per day of gasoline refining capacity – bringing that to 60,000 barrels a day. And next year, the refinery will add another 5000 barrels to its diesel fuel refining capacity.

"As you know, the diesel demand in North Dakota continues to increase," said refinery manager John Berger. "That will give us a little more flexibility to allow us to shift gasoline or diesel production, based on where the market needs are. And of course, right now those needs a primarily around diesel fuels."

"I miss my wife and kids"

Oct 22, 2012

Brian Martindale drives truck in North Dakota, but his family is back home in Minnesota. He’s married with three young children, all under the age of seven. Martindale spoke with Black Gold Boom’s Todd Melby about working in the Bakken while his wife and kids live hundreds of miles away.

That story was produced by Todd Melby.

To hear more stories about North Dakota’s oil boom, go to Black Gold Boom. com. Or visit the project’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Black Gold Boom.

Food truck brings Mexican food to the oil patch

Oct 19, 2012

Boomtowns bring with them appetites. Restaurants catering to oil workers in western North Dakota try to meet diners’ demand. But waits are long, and so are lines for drive-throughs. One solution is the food truck. In Williston, one food truck is putting an authentic twist on Mexican takeaway. Diane Richard has the story.

(To see photos of Maria and her daughter at work inside the taco truck, go to BlackGoldBoom.com. That’s BlackGoldBoom.com.)

Women tackling 'dirty jobs' in the Oil Patch

Oct 15, 2012

The oil boom of western North Dakota is mostly a man’s game. The number of men working on rigs tripping pipe far outweighs the few female faces found there. But women have found opportunity in oil country, tackling jobs men don’t traditionally do. Black Gold Boom’s Diane Richard has the story.

(To listen to more stories from the Black Gold Boom oil series, go to BlackGoldBoom.com. At the website, you can share your comments about North Dakota’s oil boom.)

Trooper on the Bus

Oct 2, 2012

School buses have always had to share the road with other vehicles. But in oil country, country roads and highways now throb with traffic. And fatality rates are at an all-time high. A North Dakota Highway Patrol safety program called “Trooper on the Bus” helps buses reach schools safely. Black Gold Boom reporter Diane Richard boarded a bus on a recent morning. From rural McKenzie County, she has the story.

(To listen to more stories from the Black Gold Boom oil series, go to blackgoldboom. com)

Williston mayor: City 'coping' with the oil boom

Oct 2, 2012

Williston’s population continues to grow.

And the latest projection says the city could double in size by 2025.

Williston Mayor Ward Koeser says so far, the city has been coping with that challenge.

"The Cesus Bureau said we are the fastest growing micropoltan center," said Koeser. "If you realize how many communities there are in the country between 10,000 and 50,000, to be the fastest growing, then you realize you're getting things coming at you at a pretty rapid pace."