XTO accepting applications for Give Back to the Bakken grant program

XTO Energy is dedicated to supporting the communities where we operate – where our employees live, work and volunteer. The communities located in the Bakken formation area – eastern Montana and western North Dakota – have welcomed XTO Energy. To show our appreciation, we want to Give Back to the Bakken.

A few days remain for nonprofit organizations in Montana and North Dakota to apply for two $25,000 grants from XTO Energy.

The grants, says XTO Energy, is a show of appreciation for the communities in eastern Montana and western North Dakota who have welcomed the company and its employees into their communities.

The two grants will be awarded to organizations that are meeting a demonstrated need for communities in the Bakken. Grant requests are due on October 31.

Click here for application guidelines and more information.


(Photo courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection)

April marks 65 years since North Dakota first became an oil producing state. Although there have been ups and downs, the industry continues today and is among the top oil producers in the world.  And it all started with the Clarence Iverson #1.

According to Clarence Herz, legend had it that when a landman approached a North Dakota wheat farmer about leasing his mineral rights for oil exploration he said he’d be glad to sign a lease and quipped, “I’ll drink all the oil you get in North Dakota.”

Herz continues:
On April 4th, 1951, North Dakota, after unsuccessfully exploring for 34 years, became the 27th state to produce petroleum.  The discovery well, Amerada Petroleum’s Clarence Iverson #1, produced nearly 250 barrels of oil per day.  It was North Dakota’s only producing well in 1951, as the other 9 attempts, all outside of the Williston Basin, were dry holes. The other nine wells, none of which were drilled by Amerada, were in Cavalier (4), Grand Forks, Morton, Pembina, Pierce, and Stutsman counties.

Click here to continue reading the history of North Dakota’s first well.



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



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.


By:  Bob van der Valk

Crude oil prices will continue to weaken regardless on whether the US raises the debt ceiling.  The connection between the value of dollar on the world market had become less of a consequence on commodity prices after the US oil production has been increasing at a fast rate.  WCS Canadian sour crude is being discounted between $25 and & $27 a barrel FOB Alberta as of today.

The importance of the EIA data is like the Federal government shutting down the NSA and not have the intelligence data gathering ability to keep us secure.  The same applies in the petroleum industry with the EIA-DOE report serving as our weekly intelligence report on which important oil and finished products trading and production decisions are made.  Without it we are back in the dark ages on gathering this type of information.  The API report has been a guide but not used in the same way at the weekly EIA-DOE report with the API report being mostly ignored by the big traders.

The weekly EIA-DOE inventory report has been very important and proven the API inventory numbers wrong numerous times.   The difference is in the methodology on gathering the data between the two reports.  The API is Garbage In; Garbage Out (GIGO) with the major oil companies “voluntarily” supplying data whereas the EIA-DOE requires and spells out mandatory figures to be submitted making it more accurate.  API also does not distribute the report without a paid subscription whereas EIA-DOE distributes theirs on their: http://www.eia.gov/ web site.

Traders use the EIA-DOE inventory report as the “Tale of the Tape” with any changes being taking into account by commodity traders in making their decisions.  They will now be dealing in the dark in making deals.  Any major refinery or pipeline glitches may result in price spikes with traders playing it safe by holding onto barrels they would otherwise be willing to sell.

Oil companies use the report to keep an eye in each other and the EIA-DOE report reveals important data about their competitors they would otherwise not be able to attain legally.  The EIA-DOE report is therefore the guide presenting facts putting rumors to rest on which some of the trades are made.  “Buy on rumors, sell on facts” is the oldest cliché in the trading circle and is alive and well.

During any extended government shutdown we will have more rumors circling around in the petroleum industry without our usual Wednesday morning verification.  Meanwhile the reporting entities are still required to submit their data and we may have an interim report once the shutdown ends.

Bob van der Valk is the Senior Editor of the Bakken Oil Business Journal and can be contacted at: editor@bakkenoilbiz.com

Opinion Article

“Phelim We Hardly Knew Ye”

By: Bob van der Valk
Dateline: Terry, Montana
June 27, 2013

This opinion article deals with FrackNation as a pro-hydraulic fracturing for oil & gas documentary. Comments, other than my own, were made by individual landowners in the Pennsylvania area where the controversy about hydraulic fracturing had its inception.

Bob van der Valk

FrackNation’s Phelim McAleer has been able to hit Josh Fox’s Gasland and Gasland Part II movies with his best shot making his points about hydraulic fracturing not being the cause for underground water contamination.   Neither is the methane produced by the drilling process resulted in any of the health problems purportedly suffered by land owners where the drilling has been done.

For the last two years Phelim McAleer has made it his life’s calling chasing Josh Fox around the country peppering him with embarrassing questions about ridiculous charges being made in the original Gasland movie.  Gasland was nominated for an Oscar as the Best Documentary of 2010.  Most, if not all, of the charges made by emotionally and financially driven opponents to hydraulic fracturing drilling for natural gas have been debunked by Federal and State agencies, which became involved by reacting to the public attention Gasland initially received.

Recently Phelim McAleer has been showing his FrackNation up against Gasland Part II.  This is leading up to the HBO-TV premiere of Gasland Part II on July 9, 2013. FrackNation will be shown again on AXS-TV July 10, 2013 both of them will get high viewer ship for both cable channels.

What has been lost in this conversation about hydraulic fracturing is the US becoming energy secure once again of having to import crude oil from countries with governments hostile to our way of life. Neither Josh Fox nor Phelim McAleer one have oil industry experience and are continuing this unnecessary raucous to promote themselves.

Sherry Hart

After the Binghamton, New York, February 10, 2013 showing of FrackNation a question was asked by Craig Stephens addressing Phelim McAleer, the producer of FrackNation, about the December 15, 2010 “Dimock Consent Order and Settlement Agreement” (COSA): http://files.dep.state.pa.us/OilGas/OilGasLandingPageFiles/FinalCO&A121510.pdf

Similar to what has happened since the beginning of the Dimock saga, the actual contents and findings of the COSA frequently get overlooked while pro-drillers and drilling opponents continue to banter with each other about the water being poisoned, no it wasn’t, etc.   Phelim’s brief answer to Cabot’s move to settle was that it was a case of corporate business as usual and happens all the time.  Partly true, but anyone who has been following the Carter Road allegations and its resulting mounds of paperwork and legal filings for the last couple of years are familiar with a few things above and beyond his answer:

The PA DEP claimed identification of the migrating gas as being from Cabot’s wells primarily using “presumptive guilt”, based only on proximity to the well, and explains their findings in a the original COSA dated November 4,2009 (http://www.marcellus-shale.us/pdf/Cabot_Consent-Order_11-4-09.pdf) which states starting in January 2009 PA DEP collected samples from water wells providing water to 13 homes which showed elevated levels of dissolved methane as well as identified combustible gas in the headspaces of seven of those water wells.

After the COSA was established, Cabot hired an independent consultant to perform a separate investigation.  According to a review of data on the same exact wells determined to be problematic by PA DEP, Robert W. Watson, Ph.D./P.E. and Associate Professor Emeritus of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and Environmental Systems Engineering, etc. concluded that Cabot was using procedures for drilling, casing and cementing wells even at that time which met or exceeded the requirements of the Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Act, were adequate to protect the drinking water, and which did not cause or allow methane migration into the drinking water. (http://www.cabotog.com/pdfs/Dr_Bob_Watson_WhitePaper_101010.pdf – page 2 and again in the Conclusion on page.

Based upon those findings, and mostly those findings alone, because all of the water supplies were within 1,300 or less feet of a Cabot well and because those wells were drilled within the preceding six months, PA regulations deem a determination of guilt can be made.  (page 3-4, articles J-K): The Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Act: A Summary of Statutory Provisions dated March 2009, Section 208: Protection of Water Supplies (58 P.S. § 601.208) (page 4) states, in part, “There is a refutable presumption that a polluted water supply located within 1,000 feet of a well is caused by the well.” http://law.psu.edu/_file/aglaw/SummaryOfPennsylvaniaOilAndGasAct.pdf  This Summary was written prior to pre-drill tests becoming mandatory, which if anything could well be the most important lesson learned in Dimock.

Other information that could be pertinent is in the legal filings of the lawsuit itself:

1) The Dimock litigants fired their original lawyer when another better known litigation firm offered to take them on as clients.  They walked out leaving $650,294.18 in legal fees unpaid. 2) When the revised COSA was finalized, settlement amounts of the plaintiffs totaled $2,234,160. (2011-11-30 2010 COSA Settlement amounts.jpg).  Amounts of the settlement varied depending on individual property appraisals.  These funds were put into an escrow account to be claimed by December of last year.  There were no restrictions put on this money; it was free for them to collect and they could still continue with their lawsuit and water deliveries would continue.  (2011-12-16 DEP and Cabot Rev Consent Order and Settlement Agreement.PDF)
3) Their original lawyer caught wind of this settlement and put a lien on the escrow account for the outstanding fees the litigants had not paid. (2011-01-12 Motion to demand fired attorneys fee.pdf)
4)  All those persons within the determined effected area and not involved in the lawsuit, claimed their money.  None of the litigants did because doing so would mean paying their first lawyer.  This got muddled in their lies of how Cabot was forcing them to sign non-disclosure agreements and quit the lawsuit… all of which is written into the contract that the money is theirs – no restrictions on it.
5) In August, most of the litigants settled, but do have to abide by a gag order regarding the settlement amounts or findings.  Also, the money contained in the escrow account set up per the COSA goes back to Cabot.  Thus Dan Dinges statement, “The aggregate value of the settlements are not a material item with respect to Cabot’s financial statements,” (statement found in the Philly.com article referenced below.)   I believe there is currently only one remaining holdout, Ray Kemble, who spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer soon after the settlement offers were made and accepted by the majority of the litigants.  He mentions what his settlement offer was and it appears it was pretty close to the same amount originally offered him in the COSA. (Per Philly.com: http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-27/news/33403570_1_susquehanna-county-town-cabot-oil-baby-drill) “Kemble is angry at just about everybody – Cabot, regulators, his own lawyers, and his ex-wife, who accepted the settlement, thereby reducing the amount offered to him. He said he would only see $79,000 from the deal, after legal fees.”  His ex-wife was entitled to half the amount offered, thus twice the amount Kemble states he was offered is $158,000.  Originally the COSA provided for a settlement offer of $185,712.00.
6) Thus, it appears the litigants were offered just slightly less the amount originally offered without having to access the funds that had liens on them, probably due to lawyer’s cuts, etc.  Settlement discussions began soon after the third set of water test results were released showing, once again, the water tested within acceptable drinking water standards.

This is why Phelim’s response fell far short and was merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Robin Fehrenbach Scala 

Are you hearing that Phelim is actually on the other side?  Or is it a setup so both can profit from the argument and their respective films?  Having met and argued with Josh Fox even before his film came out, I know he is a liar and expect no truth to ever come from his mouth.

It was later that I was contacted by Magdalena Segieda, who is the Director and Producer of FrackNation, in an effort to find people in my area who were drilled and would talk on camera for the film. I met her first and we made some initial contacts, then Phelim and the film crew came out and spent a whole day in my house getting possible scenes with me and Sherry Hart talking about our issues and showing us working the boards and contacting landowners and politicians. (Of all those hours we appear for exactly 2 seconds maybe, which we were happy about).

HBO is trying to justify their financial backing of Gasland and Part II (and Fox in general) so it seems like a good time to spread information, which could be used against Phelim or make him seem like he is just as bad as Fox.

 I also provided money to be executive producer and was involved from before the film was a film. There IS one way to prove who is right, and that is to follow the money. If HBO is really paying for ANYTHING they could prove it. But they won’t.  I trust HBO less than a guy sitting on a street corner with a hat waiting for spare change. Ask them to prove it. They can’t.

By the way, HBO DOES NOT put up those posters.  Phelim does and has since the beginning. It started from his first argument with Josh, where he asked if Josh knew about methane being in the water since the dawn of time, and Josh said, “It is not relevant”

Game On!

Now Phelim makes sure that if Gasland Part II is being shown, FrackNation is also being shown in the same town, biting at the bit for the debate with Josh, but there’s no point holding his breath!

At least HBO did not pay for FrackNation or any part of it or any advertising for it. They DID pay for Gasland and Part II and are now sucking eggs over it.

I never read the account about the arrest of the Julia Mineeva, the former Russian TV anchor, at the premiere of Gasland Part II or if her arrest for trespassing was a set up.  I do know that Josh Fox set up his own arrest (complete with his cameras rolling) at a committee hearing in the House of Representatives so he could use it in Gasland Part II.

The only reason I feel I can stand up for Phelim (though I could be wrong…it is always possible to be wrong) is due to his behavior on all other occasions where I have been with him or them, watching how they react.

See, I am the type who would make the movie and then go broke because I did not attempt to make money for travel and distribution. The movie would then be a waste of time and investor money.

I would hope that Phelim is making SOME kind of money so he does not go broke (as I would, which is stupid) trying to get the word out.

If anyone is being a money hog and pretending to actually care, it is Josh Fox, who will admit it to anyone everywhere except when asked during a screening.

Being a landowner in PA and NY, I felt like I hit the lottery when Phelim and company contacted me to help make the movie. I had no way to educate the public on my own and attempts to find a spokesperson died after speaking to an agent for an hour while finding out what it would cost to get the person I wanted.

Bob van der Valk

FrackNation exposed Josh Fox for the publicity seeker he is. The oil industry needs to have a serious discussion about the urban lies being spread by the likes of Josh Fox. Phelim did a good job on FrackNation and accomplished just that. He is a journalist and should have stuck to bringing out the true facts about hydraulic fracturing.  But we need an independent journalist to tell the true story on how to go about making the US energy secure. The next frontier will be in California with the Monterey Shale Formation coming into play. Their potential reserves of oil & gas is 3 times bigger than Marcellus, Eagle Ford & the Bakken combined.

Robin Fehrenbach Scala

You just explained your position so it makes total sense to me. Phelim has become the story.

Thanks for continuing our conversation until I could “get it”.

Bob van der Valk

God bless the USA!

This editorial was written with the assistance and input of:

  • James Asbury – Mansfield, Pennsylvania
  • Robin Fehrenbach Scala – Factoryville, Pennsylvania
  • Sherry Hart – Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania

Disclosure: Bob van der Valk, Robin Fehrenback Scala and Sherry Hart donated funds to the Kickstarter program and are credited as Executive Producers of FrackNation.

Visit our Facebook page & let us know what you think.!


Contact: Jeff Zarling
Phone: 701-577-1100
Email: info@bakkenconference.com

Minot, ND—The Bakken Investor Conference employs Attendee Communication System and the Dawa Events Mobile App to facilitate attendee communications and connections before, during and after the event.

Dawa Solutions Group has partnered Sleep Inn & Suites Minot to host the 3rd Annual Bakken Investor Conference on April 24 through April 26 to connect investors with oil and gas companies and real estate developers to explore investment and development opportunities in the Bakken Shale play.

“The oil and gas industry is driving the economy in the Williston Basin and with it the need for more housing and real estate development. Although the Williston Basin is growing, it still has a local feel,” noted Jeff Zarling, President, Dawa. “If you want to do business in the Bakken, you have to get here. Face-to-face interactions and connections are key factors in successfully doing business in the Williston Basin.”

The Attendee Communication System is a private systems platform that allows attendees to view and connect directly and confidentially with other attendees before, during and after the conference.

Attendees can comfortably contact one another through the system without having to worry about their information being freely circulated. Attendees have complete authority over who receives their information.

The Dawa Events Mobile App gives attendees access to the conference agenda, list of exhibitors, and list of attendees directly from their phone or other Apple or Android mobile device. Like the Attendee Communications System, the app allows users to privately message one another before, during and after the event.

The app is available to download from both the apple store for apple devices and the Google play store for android devices. Instructions to login and use these tools are posted at www.BakkenConference.com/attend.

“It’s paramount for the successful growth and development of our community to bring together these two key industries and their investors,” he added. “With the Attendee Communications System and the DEMA, making connections at an event has never been easier.”

In addition to the technology tools, the conference also hosts an Attendee Connection. The Attendee Connection is a forum which allows each attendee 30 seconds to introduce him/herself and tout any other relevant information. As part of the forum, conference attendees receive a numbered list of attendees, noting their name, title and represented entity. During each introduction, the attendee states what number represents him/her. Using the list, attendees can quickly and easily identify the speaker and make notes next to those attendees with whom they want to personally meet or contact.

“The Attendee Connection is a significant aspect of the conference,” stated Zarling. “It’s the equivalent of speed dating but for business relationships and has been a hit with attendees at our past conferences.”

For more information on the Bakken Investor Conference, please go to www.BakkenConference.com.

# # #

By: Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service

BISMARCK – Oil companies operating in North Dakota are keeping the brakes on this spring, but a “big surge in production” is expected this summer and fall, the director of the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday.

Lynn Helms said he expects the drilling rig count will increase from today’s count of 186 to 198 this summer, bringing as many as 2,000 more workers to Oil Patch communities.

Helms said he expects winter weather and spring road restrictions will continue affecting oil production for a few more months.

“It is going to be May, maybe even June, before production seriously gets underway,” Helms said.

Oil production rose 5.6 percent in February to 778,971 barrels per day, according to preliminary figures Helms released Tuesday.

The figure represents a new all-time high for North Dakota, but Helms said the increase was more modest than what he had projected.

“It’s still difficult to operate an oilfield and drill and frac wells in February, even a good February in North Dakota,” Helms said.

The department expects that winter storms will affect oil production in March and April. Helms projects it will take until May before the state hits 800,000 barrels per day.

“They’re keeping the brakes on as they ramp up a little bit this summer,” Helms said.

But once conditions improve, companies are expected to continue increasing their efficiency and drill more wells in less time.

Helms said the industry is proposing more multi-well pads, with seven wells on one location being the most popular number.

“It’s a positive thing because it decreases the footprint, increases the production and allows us to recover more of the Bakken and Three Forks oil,” Helms said.

One location in North Dakota has 14 wells that have been drilled. Helms said he’s signed three orders approving 18 wells on one location and he knows of two proposals that will come before him requesting to drill 24-well pads.

Flaring of natural gas rose about 1 percent in February to 30.4 percent, the second month in a row with an increase. The high was 36 percent in September 2011.

However, there has been huge improvement in the average number of days a well flares, Helms said. In 2007, a typical well flared for 380 days. In 2011, the average was 172 days and in 2012 the average was 51 days, Helms said.

Helms said he anticipates more progress will be made on reducing flaring this summer.