Registration for the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s (NDPC) 34th Annual Meeting to be held in Fargo, N.D., on Sept. 21-23, 2015 will open July 8. The Annual Meeting will include presentations from several industry leaders and key decision makers who will focus on the biggest issues and challenges facing the oil and gas industry today.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, the NDPC will co-host an informational seminar, “Drilling Bits and Coding Bytes” that will be free and open the public. The seminar will focus on the technological advances and contributions that Fargo-area businesses are making to enhance the petroleum industry. A Bakken Basics Information Session will also be held for those wishing to learn more about oil and gas development from industry experts.

“We are excited to be in Fargo this year for our annual meeting,” said Ron Ness, president for the NDPC. “The opportunities extend far beyond the Bakken, into the Red River Valley and across state borders. There are tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs to find their niche and help mold a modern, technology-driven oilfield. There’s no better place that proves that better than Fargo, which is home to world-class technology and research facilities.”

“We are so excited and proud to be hosting our first North Dakota Petroleum event in Fargo,” said Jill Halvorson with the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It is an honor to be able to show off what we love about Fargo to a group that is coming from all across our great state. We will be pulling out all the stops to make sure that when they leave on Sept. 23, the question will be ‘When can we come back?’”

The information sessions and seminar will be held Monday, Sept. 21 in the Fargo Theater in Downtown Fargo and are free to attend.

The NDPC Annual Meeting will be held at the Ramada Plaza Suites on Sept. 22 and 23. Registration for NDPC members is $300 and $600 for nonmembers. For registration and more information about the meeting, including a full list of hotels in Fargo, dining, flights, and the most up-to-date agenda, visit

Media wishing to register for the annual meeting may request media credentials from Tessa Sandstrom at 701-557-7744 or
Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 525 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. For more information, go to

Media Contact:
Tessa Sandstrom | Communications Manager, ND Petroleum Council | 701.223.6380 |



Washington, D.C. – Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) will appear before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, to urge lawmakers to lift the ban on exporting crude oil and to highlight the positive economic impacts oil and gas development has had on rural communities, especially in North Dakota.

“In 2006, horizontal drilling technology unlocked the Bakken, resulting in a surge of oil and gas production, making North Dakota equivalent to the nineteenth largest oil producing country,” says Cutting. “With development came a rural economic renaissance for our state. Once shrinking rural communities are now growing, as new people move to the state and others return home to be closer to family. Oil development has helped supplement incomes for many local farmers and ranchers who once worried about holding on to the family farm. A new diesel refinery that recently began operating and proposed fertilizer plants and other value-added projects will help further lower input costs for ag producers further helping rural growth.”

“But this rural renaissance is being threatened by foreign entities not always friendly to the United States and by restrictions imposed on the sale of oil abroad. The U.S. government should lift the ban on crude oil exports and allow oil produced in places like North Dakota to reach global markets. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would immediately restore our competitiveness and revive the renaissance in rural America.  Not only would rural America prosper, but all U.S. citizens would benefit from lifting the ban.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern time in the Longworth House Office Building. The hearing may be viewed live at Cutting’s prepared testimony for the hearing is attached.

Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 525 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. For more information, go to

Media Contact:
Tessa Sandstrom
Communications Manager
ND Petroleum Council

The Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) has asked the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation to commence rule making to impose quarter mile (1,320 ft) setbacks of drilling rigs from occupied dwellings. This is a greater distance than the proposal struck down before the legislative Senate Natural Resources committee just months ago, after ample testimony on both sides.

NPRC claims that because other states have imposed setbacks, Montana should follow suit for the benefit of landowners. However, existing statute and administrative rules, along with the structure and function of the BOGC, are a made in Montana solution that works. Using a checklist of out of state rules and regulations to shape policy in Montana is not a good idea. Doing so neglects to take into account those attributes which are unique to Montana.

This Wednesday, at a public meeting before the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC), the Montana Petroleum Association (MPA) will be providing comments on how implementation of the proposed rule would negatively impact oil and gas opportunities in Montana, siting that:

  • Montana’s drilling and permitting activity pales in comparison to other states who’ve elected to impose setbacks, especially with consideration to densely populated areas
  • Other states do not have the same protest ability that Montana landowners do with regard to oil and gas drilling
  • The public, including land/surface owners, have considerable access to the BOGC
  • Montana’s BOGC is set up to mitigate concerns on a case by case basis; ensuring responsible and efficient development of mineral resources
  • If imposed, drilling opportunities in Montana would be severely impacted, with many small and exploratory oil and gas operators essentially placed out of business without the ability to drill into small target formations
  • Many claim horizontal wells have greater flexibility in surface placement, however, operators seek to evenly space wells within a DSU (drilling spacing unit)
  • Setbacks would reduce the number of wells there could be in a given DSU (within the same lease), shorten laterals, thereby increasing wasted oil and gas reserves, and lessening both production revenue (including that to the state and counties) and royalty payments to mineral owners, which include universities, hospitals, and charitable organizations
  • Setbacks neglect to recognize that minerals are the dominate estate (under common law) in split estate scenarios.
  • Setbacks act as a taking of mineral owners rights without compensation
  • Correlative rights of mineral owners are compromised by setback rules administered as a “one-size-fits-all” rule
  • Potential legal conflicts exist with regard to treatment of existing leases under setback rules
  • Surface use agreements are currently negotiated between landowner and operator, prior to drilling
  • The BOGC sites less than a handful of cases wherein a surface owner came before the Board with a concern over the placement of a well
  • The BOGC currently has the ability to exercise authority over well placement to mitigate surface owner concerns when necessary, based on potential harms
  • Montana has a longstanding history of environmentally responsible development of oil and gas, without negative impacts on air, soil, or water

The rule would have widespread effects on Montana’s economy and on mineral rights. Mineral owners, royalty recipients, and oil and gas operators with an interest in preserving future drilling opportunities in the Treasure State ought to weigh in at the June 24th meeting at the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation office in Billings, 2535 St. Johns Avenue, at 1:00 pm.

Public hearings will follow at a date TBD, should the Board commence rule making.

Interested parties may contact the Montana Petroleum Association at to stay updated on the issue, and to be notified of future opportunities for public comment.

Contact: Jessica Sena, 590-8675


Assessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources and identifies important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources.

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a draft assessment today on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources in the United States. The assessment, done at the request of Congress, shows that while hydraulic fracturing activities  in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources, there are potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water. The assessment follows the water used for hydraulic fracturing from water acquisition, chemical mixing at the well pad site, well injection of fracking fluids, the collection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater (including flowback and produced water), and wastewater treatment and disposal [].

“EPA’s draft assessment will give state regulators, tribes and local communities and industry around the country a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date, including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

EPA’s review of data sources available to the agency found specific instances where well integrity and waste water management related to hydraulic fracturing activities impacted drinking water resources, but they were small compared to the large number of hydraulically fractured wells across the country. The report provides valuable information about potential vulnerabilities, some of which are not unique to hydraulic fracturing, to drinking water resources, but was not designed to be a list of documented impacts.

These vulnerabilities to drinking water resources include:

  • water withdrawals in areas with low water availability;
  • hydraulic fracturing conducted directly into formations containing drinking water resources;
  • inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below ground migration of gases and liquids;
  • inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources;
  • and spills of hydraulic fluids and hydraulic fracturing wastewater, including flowback and produced water.

Also released today were nine peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports (  These reports were a part of EPA’s overall hydraulic fracturing drinking water study and contributed to the findings outlined in the draft assessment.   Over 20 peer-reviewed articles or reports were published as part of this study [].

States play a primary role in regulating most natural gas and oil development. EPA’s authority is limited by statutory or regulatory exemptions under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Where EPA’s exemptions exist, states may have authority to regulate unconventional oil and gas extraction activities under their own state laws.

EPA’s draft assessment benefited from extensive stakeholder engagement conducted across the country with states, tribes, industry, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community and the public to ensure that the draft assessment reflects current practices in hydraulic fracturing and utilizes all data and information available to the agency.

The study will be finalized after review by the Science Advisory Board and public review and comment. The Federal Register Notice with information on the SAB review and how to comment on the draft assessment will be published on Friday June 5, 2015.

For a copy of the study, visit

To submit comments on the report, see


SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


On Earth Day, I’m asking my friends and fans to join me in celebrating fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—by watching and sharing “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuels”, a video I helped create with Dennis Prager and his team at Prager University. The five minute “course” has already drawn over 130,000 views since it was posted yesterday. (In comparison, my most-viewed video before this has 22,000.) Please share far and wide, for it’s time we stop thinking about how to save the planet from human beings, and instead resume thinking about how to improve the planet for human beings. — Alex



“Economic Contributions” of the Oil and Gas Industry in 2013” Infographic 2013-Economic-Impactv2-1 2013-Economic-Impactv2-2

Bismarck, N.D. – The oil and gas industry has seen its economic output rise by 750 percent to $43 billion since 2005, according to a study conducted by the North Dakota State University’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. The study also found that the industry directly supported 55,137 full time equivalent jobs and supported another 26,403 secondary full-time jobs. This increase represents the growing importance oil and gas development has on the state’s overall economic health.

“This study helps confirm that the petroleum industry is one of the largest basic-sector industries in North Dakota,” said Dean Bangsund, co-author of the study and research scientist for the department at NDSU. “Although activity is concentrated in the western part of the state, the magnitude of the contributions to both the state and local governments and the sheer volume of secondary economic effects in nearly all sectors of the North Dakota economy would suggest that the economic effects of the industry are felt statewide.”

Because the industry relies on hundreds of contractors and subcontractors, the economic contributions extend beyond the mining and extraction industries. According to the study, retail trade once again saw the largest impact, taking in $11.3 billion of the $43 billion. Households, or personal income, saw the second-largest impact at $9.3 billion, and the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate industry ($4.5 billion) overtook the government ($4.4 billion), which was the third-largest beneficiary in 2011. More than six other industries in North Dakota also benefitted from oil and gas development.

“The positive impacts of oil and gas development extend far beyond just the energy industry, and benefit many of our small and independent businesses in the oil patch and across the state,” said Rae Ann Kelsch, state director of the North Dakota chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. “This is great news, but what is perhaps more exciting for our organization and members is the fact that the $43 billion only represents 48 percent of the total economic output. That means there is a demand for services within the state that our members can begin taking a look at and capitalizing upon to keep even more of those dollars here in our state.”

Among the study’s key findings:

· The oil and gas industry generated $43 billion for North Dakota’s Economy: In 2013, direct impacts of the oil and gas industry were $17 billion and secondary impacts were $25.7 billion for a total of $43 billion in business activity. For every dollar spent in the state by the oil and gas industry, another $1.43 in additional business activity was generated.

· The oil and gas industry created more than 80,000 jobs statewide: The study reveals that the oil and gas industry’s economic importance to the state includes direct employment for 55,137 full-time jobs and secondary employment of 26,403 full-time equivalent jobs.

· The industry contributed $9.3 billion in economy-wide personal income: The study reveals that the oil and gas industry contributed $9.3 billion in economy-wide personal income, including $1.425 billion in in-state private royalties and $300 million in lease bonuses. This is a 382 percent increase since 2005.

· The oil and gas industry generated $4.4 billion in government revenues: According to the study, the oil and gas industry generated a total of $4.4 billion in government revenues, including:
o $2.9 billion in gross production and severance taxes;
o $654 million in royalties, including $304 million in state royalties, $349 million in federal royalties, including tribal royalties;
o $49.6 million in state lease bonuses, and $4.1 million in federal lease bonuses that were returned to the state;
o $62.6 million in direct sales and use taxes;
o $50.5 million in corporate and personal income taxes;
o $54.6 million in licenses, permits, and fees;
o $12.5 million in charitable donations;
o $322.3 million in indirect state government general tax collections.

· The oil and gas industry supported $28.5 billion in non-industry business activity: The oil and gas industry benefited other industries and sectors statewide, including $11.3 billion in statewide retail sales; $4.5 billion in finance, insurance and real estate; $2.8 billion in business and personal services; $2.3 billion in communications and public utilities; $2.2 billion in professional and social services; $1.8 billion in construction; $1.5 billion in other sectors (various ag and mining); $1.3 billion in manufacturing; and, $838 million in transportation.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) has commissioned the study each biennium since 2005, and economic benefits have risen dramatically. Economic impacts have grown by 750 percent since the first study in 2005. State and local government revenues grew by more than $3.73 billion—or 1,150 percent—since 2005, while industry-wide direct employment grew by 992 percent from 5,051 in 2005 to 56,137 in 2013.

“We’ve seen a dramatic growth in production, and along with it, a dramatic growth in the economic contributions and associated job creation,” said Ron Ness, president of the NDPC. “Obviously, as prices decrease, the benefits previously enjoyed by the state government, households and other industries will be much lower as we work through the current price drop – no doubt impacts many are beginning to feel. We must be cautious to not further hinder these positive economic impacts through onerous or unnecessary regulation.”

The study was conducted by research scientist Dean Bangsund and Dr. Nancy Hodur, Research Assistant Professor at the NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Bangsund and Hodur surveyed firms engaged in exploration and development, extraction and production, transportation, and processing of crude oil and natural gas. Data that was measured in this study but not included in previous surveys was an assessment of capital expenditures for infrastructure projects. To view the full study, visit

ATTACHMENT: “Economic Contributions” of the Oil and Gas Industry in 2013” Infographic

Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 500 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. For more information, go to

Media Contact:
Tessa Sandstrom
Communications Manager
ND Petroleum Council

IMG_1532By:  Bob van der Valk
Date:  January 19, 2015 – 12:30 PM MDT

A Bakken crude gathering system reported a pipeline leak near Glendive, Montana Saturday, January 17th, leading to oil spilling into the Yellowstone River.  An oil sheen has been noticed in the Yellowstone River approximately 15 miles from the spill site and was confirmed by Bill Salvin, spokes person from Bridger Pipeline.

The exact amount of the leak has not yet been determined but currently contractors are digging trenches on both sides of the Yellowstone River to install siphon valves in order to determine whether anymore crude oil is currently flowing through the pipeline.

Location of the suspected leak underneath the Yellowstone River is 2 miles east of the I-94 mile marker 204 near Glendive, Montana.  Work in progress can be seen from the I-94.

Kevin Pena, District Sanitarian for Dawson County, has been monitoring for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), in the water supply system for the City of Glendive and reports of contamination have been reported causing a run on bottled water at local markets.

Portion of Bridger pipeline with siphon valve installedBridger Pipeline LLC headquartered in Casper, Wyoming owns and operates the Poplar System in Eastern Montana, the Four Bears Pipeline System in North Dakota, the Parshall Gathering System and the Powder River System in Wyoming.

Crude oil gathering systems in Baker, Montana build up inventory for rail or pipeline deliveries to the coastal refining hubs on the Gulf Coast, West Coast and East Coast as well as the crude storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.

Bridger Pipeline is owned by True Companies, which also owns and operates other crude oil gathering systems in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

Bridger Pipeline said that the oil spill at Glendive occurred at about 10 AM on Saturday.  The initial oil leak volume is estimated to be about 1,200 barrels or 50, 000 gallons according to the initial report.

The Bridger Pipeline is connected to Belle Fourche Pipeline, which gathers domestic crude production in Wyoming and North Dakota.

Bridger and Belle Fourche pipelines have a maximum capacity of about 100,000 barrels per day. A prolonged pipeline shutdown of Bridger may have some impact on crude delivery to Cushing, but it is noted that there are several other crude gathering systems in North Dakota and this crude oil could also be delivered by trucks and rail, in addition to pipelines.

Besides Belle Fourche and Bridger pipelines, True Companies is also involved in oil drilling, trucking, trading oil from both rail and truck, drilling equipment and farming and employs more than 1,000 people.

PHOTOS: (top) Portion of Bridger pipeline with siphon valve installed. (bottom) Frozen Yellowstone River shoreline at the oil spill site.

Frozen Yellowstone River shoreline at the oil spill site

oilgasawards-logoFinalists Announcement for the 3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards in Partnership with the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and North Dakota Petroleum Council

The Oil & Gas Awards announce this year’s 3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards finalists in recognition of the companies who have been judged and recognized to excel in the key areas of Health & Safety, Operational Excellence, Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Stewardship.

The Oil & Gas Awards organizers are pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards finalist companies. The judging panel has recognized the listed companies as leaders in the region. The winners of each category will be announced at the 3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, CO, 80202.

AwardsFinalists will be recognized for their contribution to the industry at the gala dinner. The winners in each category will then be invited on stage to collect their award in front of the audience and attending media.

3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards Finalist Companies:

A&W Water Service, Inc.
ABUTEC Industries, Inc.
Access Midstream
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
Applied Control Equipment
Astro Thermal Tec Ltd.
Austin Exploration
Bilfinger Westcon Inc.
Border States Electric
Calfrac Well Services
CDM Resource Management LLC
Corval Group
Crestwood Midstream Partners LP
Cruz Energy Services
Davis & Davis Company
Enservco Corporation
EOG Resources
First River Energy
Fortis Energy Services
Halker Consulting
JD Field Services
Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development
Jonah Energy LLC
Katch Kan
Kerr Pumps and FlowValve
Legacy Reserves LP
Leistritz Advanced Technologies Corp.
LT Environmental, Inc.
Memorial Production Partners LP
Northern Electric, Inc.
Nuverra Environmental Solutions
Packers Plus
Patrick Hughley
Pedigree Technologies
Pioneer Energy Services
RMT Trucking, Inc.
RockPile Energy Services, LLC
Samuel Engineering
Scientific Drilling International
SECURE Energy Services
Spartan Engineering
Summit Midstream
Tesoro Logistics LP
Themark Corporation
Total Safety
Trinidad Drilling
US Solids Control
Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC
Well Master Corporation
Whiting Petroleum Corporation
Worthington Industries

Alternatively or for more information, visit the Oil & Gas Awards website:

About the Oil & Gas Awards

The Oil & Gas Awards recognize the outstanding achievements within the upstream and midstream sectors of the North American oil and gas industry. The awards are a platform for the industry to demonstrate and celebrate the advances made in the key areas of environment, efficiency, innovation, corporate social responsibility and health and safety. The Awards show the industry’s motivation to develop by recognizing and rewarding the efforts of corporations and individuals. For more information about the Oil & Gas Awards, all regional awards and award categories can be reviewed on our website at or contact the organizers on 210 591 8468.


INTRODUCTION by Bob van der Valk, Senior Editor  |  Bakken Oil Business Journal

“In October 2014 crude oil barrels went down 4M barrels/day from 1,186,228 to 1,182,174 barrels/day.  The drilling rig count dropped 2 from September to October, an additional 3 from October to November, and has since fallen 5 more from November to today. The number of well completions decreased from 193(final) in September to 134(preliminary) in October. Three significant forces are driving the slow-down: oil price, flaring reduction, and oil conditioning.”

NDIC Department of Mineral Resources Director’s Cut Newsletter
December 13, 2014 – Lynn Helms

Crude Oil production:
Sep Oil 35,586,832 barrels = 1,186,228 barrels/day
Oct Oil 36,647,393 barrels = 1,182,174 barrels/day (preliminary)
1,118,010 barrels per day or 95% from Bakken and Three Forks
64,164 barrels per day or 5% from legacy conventional pools

Natural Gas Production:
Sep Gas 42,400,766 MCF = 1,413,359 MCF/day
Oct Gas 44,317,381 MCF = 1,429,593 MCF/day (preliminary)(NEW all-time high)
Sep Producing Wells = 11,758
Oct Producing Wells = 11,892 (preliminary)(NEW all-time high)
8,406 wells or 71% are now unconventional Bakken – Three forks wells
3,486 wells or 29% produce from legacy conventional pools

Permits issued:
Sep Permitting: 261 drilling and 2 seismic
Oct Permitting: 328 drilling and 1 seismic
Nov Permitting: 235 drilling and 1 seismic (all time high was 370 in 10/2012)

Crude oil pricing:
Sep Sweet Crude Price = $74.85/barrel
Oct Sweet Crude Price = $68.94/barrel
Nov Sweet Crude Price = $60.61/barrel
Today Sweet Crude Price = $41.75/barrel (lowest since March 2009) (all-time high was $136.29 7/3/2008)

Rig Count:
Sep rig count 193
Oct rig count 191
Nov rig count 188
Today’s rig count is 183 (all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)
The statewide rig count is down 16% from the high and in the five most active counties rig count is down as follows:
Divide -69% (high was 3/2013)
Dunn -26% (high was 6/2012)
McKenzie -15% (high was 1/2014)
Mountrail -20% (high was 6/2011)
Williams -16% (high was 10/2014)

The drilling rig count dropped 2 from September to October, an additional 3 from October to November, and has since fallen 5 more from November to today. The number of well completions decreased from 193(final) in September to 134(preliminary) in October. Three significant forces are driving the slow-down: oil price, flaring reduction, and oil conditioning. Several operators have reported postponing completion work to achieve the NDIC gas capture goals. There were no major precipitation events, but there were 9 days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work).

Over 95% of drilling still targets the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

The drillers outpaced completion crews in October. At the end of October there were about 650 wells waiting on completion services, an increase of 40.

Crude oil take away capacity is expected to remain adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing.

Rig count in the Williston Basin is set to fall rapidly during the first quarter of 2015. Utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet is currently about 90%, and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) about 60%.

Drilling permit activity peaked in October as operators worked on their summer programs, planned locations for next winter, and adjusted capital budgets.

The number of rigs actively drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands is down from 6 to 3.

Activity on the Fort Berthold Reservation is as follows:
28 drilling rigs (11 on fee lands and 17 on trust lands)
386,679 barrels of oil per day (149,547 from trust lands & 237,131 from fee lands)
1,371 active wells (1,044 on trust lands & 327 on fee lands)
172 wells waiting on completion
346 approved drilling permits (306 on trust lands & 40 on fee lands)
1,997 additional potential future wells (1,224 on trust lands & 773 on fee lands)

Seismic activity is slowing down with 5 surveys active/recording, 1 remediating, 0 suspended, and 1 permitted. There are now 3 buried arrays in North Dakota for monitoring and optimizing hydraulic fracturing.

North Dakota leasing activity is very low, consisting mostly of renewals and top leases in the Bakken – Three Forks area.

US natural gas storage is now 10% below the five-year average indicating slowly increasing prices in the future. North Dakota shallow gas exploration could be economic at future gas prices. As you are aware there is some exploration underway in Emmons County. The first well will be on confidential status until 12/23/14.

The price of natural gas delivered to Northern Border at Watford City is down $0.76 to $2.98/MCF. This results in a current oil to gas price ratio of 14 to 1. The percentage of gas flared dropped to 22%. The Tioga gas plant remained below 70% of full capacity due to delayed expansion of gas gathering from south of Lake Sakakawea.
capture percentage was 78% with the daily volume of gas flared from Sep to Oct decreasing 32.8 MMCFD. The historical high flared percent was 36% in 09/2011.

Gas capture statistics are as follows:
Statewide 78%
Statewide Bakken 78%
Non-FBIR Bakken 79%
FBIR Bakken 75%
October 2014 capture target =74%
January 2015 capture target =77%

BLM revised final regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands were sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for interagency review on Oct 26 and Department of Interior continues to be committed to their goal of issuing a final rule by the end of 2014. After initial publication in 2012, BLM received over 177,000 comments and withdrew the rule. A new proposed rule was published in the federal register on 5/24/2013 and the comment period ended 8/23/2013. This time BLM received over 1.2 million comments. Thanks to all who provided comments in support of a “states first” policy.
BLM has started the process of new venting and flaring regulations with input sessions in Denver, Albuquerque, Dickinson, and Washington, DC.

EPA published an advanced notice of proposed rule-making to seek comment on the information that should be reported or disclosed for hydraulic fracturing chemical substances and mixtures and the mechanism for obtaining this information. The proposed rule-making is in response to a petition from Earthjustice and 114 other groups who are opposed to the use of the GWPC-IOGCC FracFocus website process of chemical disclosure and any type of trade secret protection for hydraulic fracturing fluid mixtures. These groups are requesting EPA regulation of chemical disclosure under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.


Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 3.47.33 PM“What we see is the technology is changing rapidly.
We want to stay at the forefront of that.”

Are regulatory updates across the Rockies states encouraging or hindering reusing produced water for fracking?
For us, in the Piceance basin, I’m going to say encouraging. The state is really supportive of water sharing agreements within the Piceance basin. So that’s a yes.

There is a lot of pressure towards reusing produced water for fracking currently – how can operators manage these pressures?
I believe most operators want to reuse their water, and for us there are regulatory pressures. Because we use slick water approach to complete our wells, it makes it easier for us to recycle our water. When you go to the front range, where operators’ chemistry requires a more complicated completion fluid, it becomes more difficult. So here, it’s very straightforward.
For us, there is a cost of recycling the produced water, but it makes more sense than pulling freshwater out of the river; this gives us a real advantage.

Water sources are under stress from industries besides the oil and gas industry, do you believe reusing produced water is the solution to water sourcing issues? Using produced water is a good option for all operators. Obviously, there are economic restraints depending on the quality of water you have to clean and where you have to take it to, to reuse it. Locally, we’re sensitive to the stress of sourcing freshwater – obviously in Colorado, water is key to everyone. We made the switch to recycling close to 100% of our produced water and really, in the local community’s eyes, it made sense. It’s something that we’re proud of.

Download the full interview here.