Oil Boom

Shipping oil by train

Oct 2, 2012

Much of Bakken crude oil from western North Dakota is leaving the state via rail.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms says 47 percent of Bakken crude is shipped by rail, compared with 43 percent by pipeline – and ten percent by truck. Helms says the reason is financial.

"It allows us to displace foreign crude oil that would come in from the North Sea of the Pacific Rim into the East or West Coast," said Helms. "The pipelines only get us to Cushing, Oklahoma, or once the Keystone XL pipeline is in place, to the Gulf Coast."

ND applies to regulate CO2 capture

Sep 25, 2012

The state of North Dakota wants to become the first in the nation to be able to regulate the capture and use of carbon dioxide from energy production.

The federal EPA has given the state preliminary approval to do that. And now state mineral resources director Lynn Helms says he will be working to make that approval permanent. Helms told the state Industrial Commission there is a lot of potential for the use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

Temporary worker program ending in the oil patch

Sep 19, 2012

Fast food restaurants, grocery stores and motels in North Dakota’s oil patch have come to rely on student workers from abroad, places like China, Eastern Europe and South America. But the company that coordinates visas for those temporary foreign workers is canceling the program, leaving local businesses in the lurch. Black Gold Boom reporter Diane Richard has the story.

Research team examines western North Dakota man camps

Aug 27, 2012
University of North Dakota

A research team from the University of North Dakota has completed the first field season of what’s called the “North Dakota Man Camp Project.”  It explores social and material conditions in the growing number of man camps in western North Dakota’s oil patch.  Prairie Public’s Danielle Webster has the story.

As oil production drops, natural gas production climbs

Jul 23, 2012

A study of natural gas produced in the Bakken formation shows as oil production declines, natural gas production will increase.

"Traditionally with oil wells, gas production declines along with the oil decline," said North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms. "But these Bakken wells indicate that, after they're 8 to 10 years old, the natural gas production actually starts to increase. This means we could eventually produce twice as much natural gas than we were anticipating 12, 15 years from now."

Diesel refinery planned for South Heart

Jul 9, 2012

An official with MDU Resources Group of Bismarck, ND, says getting the approval of the Stark County Commission on a zoning change for its proposed diesel refinery is a good step. But as Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, Rick Matteson says there's more work to do.

The company is proposing a 10,000 gallong per day refinery near South Heart. Matteson says there are a lot of details in the planning process for the proposed $325 million refinery.

ND objects to proposed federal 'fracking' rules

Jun 28, 2012

Two federal agencies have proposed new regulations on “fracking.” The EPA and the Bureau of Land Management have issued proposed rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing – a technique widely used in the Bakken shale formation to recover oil. As Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, North Dakota’s Industrial Commission is opposing the rules.

"This has always been regulated at the state level," said North Dakota mineral resource director Lynn Helms. "North Dakota has primacy to regulate underground injection control."

Pipeline capacity expanding in western ND

Jun 15, 2012

Oil and gas pipeline capacity in North Dakota is expected to grow over the next couple of years. As Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, that's the word after a pipeline summit in Bismarck, hosted by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Dalrymple says he’s encouraged by that news.

BSC President concerned about enrollment drop

Jun 11, 2012

Western North Dakota's oil boom means a lot of opportunity. But as Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, there is a down-side for higher education.

Bismarck State College had a small enrollment drop last year – and BSCPresident Larry Skogen is predicting another small drop this fall.

"What's disconcerting is that it's North Dakota males that we're losing," said Skogen. "And we're losing them to the wonderful opportunities for them in the oil country."

Norwegian oil company entering the Bakken play

Jun 11, 2012

A Norwegian company is expanding into the Bakken play in western North Dakota. As Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, Statoil wants to expand its operations to on-shore drilling.

Eli Aamot is the vice president of research for Statoil (STAT-oil).

"Statoil's origin is the Norwegian state oil company," said Aamot in an interview at Statoil's headquarters in Trondheim, Norway. "The company is now private, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. "