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.


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 mpa@montanapetroleum.org to stay updated on the issue, and to be notified of future opportunities for public comment.

Contact: Jessica Sena, 590-8675


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

Listen to what Mr. Hannity had to say about energy and North Dakota by viewing the clip here. Then, be sure to attend WBPC on May 22 to hear his thoughts first hand!

‘Energy Is Our Answer’: Hannity on ‘Get America Back to Work’ Campaign

Sean Hannity was on “America’s News Headquarters” today to discuss his “Get America Back to Work” campaign, where he teams up with companies in oil-rich states to get Americans employed.

A few years ago on his radio show, Hannity said that if he was unemployed, he would pack his bags and go to North Dakota, where he would beg an oil executive to hire him.

His message spread, months went by, and Hannity said he got about 20 calls from people who said they took his advice, moved to North Dakota, found jobs, paid off debt, bought houses and more.

That’s when Hannity and his team began to approach companies in North Dakota, Louisiana and Texas in order to get Americans back to work.

“Energy is our answer – it could literally transform the American economy […] it is the single greatest resource we have,” he said, stressing that he has been “blessed beyond measure” and that it kills him to see the middle class being held hostage.

“I identify with them because that’s where I came from,” he said of America’s middle class.

“People are suffering needlessly and government policies are literally an impediment to their life, their success, their opportunity to buy a nice house in a safe neighborhood, get a nice car, send their kids to a nice school. All of this is government getting in the way. I say bypass ‘em, they’re all a bunch of idiots,” he said.


A few days before the latest Big Sky Honor Flight took off for Washington, DC, Roland Engdahl was in the emergency room.  Being part of the Big Sky Honor Flight to view the WWII Memorial was his last wish, but they never thought he would make it.  Well, he did, and his grandkids travelled from across the country to meet him in Washington, DC.

I was there for the trip and saw the grandkids’ salute first hand. Click below for the full story.

Aaron Flint is the host of the popular statewide talk radio show “Voices of Montana.” In addition, he serves as the editor of the daily online news and commentary blog “The Flint Report,” recognized by The Washington Post as “one of the best state-based political blogs.” Aaron has also been listed by The Washington Post as one of the best state based political reporters. His work has been featured nationally by the Fox Business Network, The Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Politico and others.

He has deep Montana roots, since his father’s family homesteaded near Flathead Lake, and his mother’s family goes back four generations in Glasgow. While in fourth grade Aaron recalls stuffing newspapers for The Glasgow Courier, which for years was published and edited by his grandparents, Ron and Joan Helland.

As an officer in Montana’s Army National Guard, Aaron served three military tours overseas, in 2005-06 as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Ramadi, Iraq, and later in 2008-09 as an embedded advisor with the Afghan National Police at COP Wilderness in Afghanistan. Most recently, he deployed to the Horn of Africa.

Flint’s journalistic experience began as a journalism student at Howard University. He later received a BA degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Montana where he served as President of the Associated Students. He also worked for two years as a Policy Advisor on the Washington staff of U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. Flint’s broadcast career includes work with Montana Public Radio, a runner for the NBC News “Today” show at the 2004 National Political Conventions, an internship with Bloomberg TV and Radio in Washington, DC, and as Executive Producer and Reporter with KTVQ-2 Television (CBS) in Billings.

Flint enjoys combining his real world background and Montana roots, with a love for journalism, saying, “Every day, I hope to take a wide range of experiences to show audiences the bigger picture, or to give them a side of the story they won’t get anywhere else”.

Aaron and his wife Jessica have two young boys, and a baby girl born during his recent deployment overseas.

On November 6th 2013, Eagles Landing hosted an International Trade Mission in the Bakken Energy Basin of Sidney, Montana. The event was a joint effort of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg and the Montana World Trade Center. With over 200 business and government leaders from across Western Canada and the state of Montana attending, the event was a huge success!

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 1.34.13 PM
Here is a short video link to recap the day’s events: http://vimeo.com/79463005
For more information, please contact:
Troy R. Selland, 5.19 Sales and Marketing
Founder and Chief Executive
+1-321.614.1907 (work)
+1-855.758.1797 (toll -free)

Wind River Hotel and Casino Ad Banenr

WALLER NICOLE YVONNEFoul Play Suspected in Valentine’s Day Disappearance

HELENA – On February 14, 2013, Nicole Waller left Fairview, Montana to return home to her three young children in Kalispell.  When Waller, 32, didn’t return, family members reported her missing; Waller’s vehicle, a maroon 1999 Ford Expedition, was eventually found on the side of Highway 2 outside of Poplar.  Although an extensive search was conducted, Waller was never found.  Nearly ten months later, Waller has still not been located, and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them.

“Mothers traditionally don’t abandon their children,” noted Agent Mark Hilyard of the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.  “This is clearly not normal behavior and has every indication of a homicide.”

Although law enforcement won’t go into details of the investigation, a number of factors point to foul play.  Agent Hilyard references Waller’s abandoned car as an example.  “Someone witnessed suspicious activity taking place. It also appeared odd that her children’s pet guinea pigs were still in the vehicle when it was recovered,” Agent Hilyard said.  He urged the public for assistance with the missing woman’s disappearance, pointing out that often a single observation that someone may consider unimportant can break a case open.

Agent Hilyard added, “There are three children and a family looking for some closure to their loved one’s disappearance.  And there’s someone out there who knows the truth.”

Anyone with information regarding Nicole Waller’s disappearance may anonymously contact Agent Mark Hilyard in the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice by calling (406) 791-2709 or the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 758-5600.


Contact:  Anastasia Burton
406-444-9869 | aburton@mt.gov

Current slate of locations skips coal country altogether

HELENA – Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox asked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to add Montana to the agency’s listening sessions on coal regulations. Yesterday, the EPA began its series of listening sessions scheduled to take place in large urban centers: New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

“Montanans care about proposed federal regulations impacting their livelihood, their public schools, their utility rates, their communities, and their environment, and they deserve to be heard on this,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “It’s mind boggling that the EPA isn’t holding a single session in a state that relies directly on coal for affordable energy, family-wage jobs, and economic development. It’s as if the regulators don’t want to hear from the hardworking folks who will suffer most under the onerous regulations they’re considering. The EPA needs to come here to Montana – to a place like Colstrip or Billings – and listen to what our citizens have to say.”

The listening sessions are designed to gather public input on the agency’s implementation of Rule 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions from power plants. The proposed regulations are targeted at the very coal-fired power generation that provides Montanans with reliable, affordable electricity. Since Montana has more recoverable coal reserves than any other state, the regulations could be all the more devastating.

“The EPA shouldn’t be afraid of listening to viewpoints they won’t hear in New York City,” Fox said.

In his letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy, Attorney General Fox echoed President Obama and members of his administration in calling for an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. “EPA’s recently announced proposals run contrary to a balanced energy approach,” Fox told McCarthy.

Read Attorney General Fox’s letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy here.

Contact: John Barnes
406-444-2031 | johnbarnes@mt.gov

Industry representatives will work to find solutions to infrastructure needs

Bismarck, N.D. – The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) members have formed a task force to spearhead the industry’s efforts to significantly reduce natural gas flaring in the state’s Bakken oilfields.

“We recognize that natural gas is an efficient, clean and valuable resource, and that’s why the industry has invested more than $6 billion in new pipelines, processing plants and other infrastructure to move it from the wellhead to the marketplace,” said Terry Kovacevich, NDPC chairman and regional vice president for Marathon Oil. “This is a significant investment, but we are committed to making North Dakota the model of a modern, efficient and technology-driven oilfield.”

Since 2007, when the Bakken was confirmed to be a prolific and world-class resource, gas plant capacity has increased by 340 percent from 227 million cubic feet per day to more than 1 billion cubic feet per day. Despite this significant growth, production continues to outpace capacity due partly to challenges in building appropriate infrastructure and partly because it was not until recently that experts began to fully comprehend the volume and composition of natural gas trapped in the Bakken.

“We have to remember that the Bakken is still a very young play, and this is just one factor in why production has outpaced our ability to build the infrastructure needed. Furthermore, the Bakken is unlike any other play in the world and requires solutions specifically tailored to its geology, climate, landscape and resources,” said Kovacevich.

Members of the task force will pool the knowledge and experience of companies operating in the Bakken and identify solutions to better optimize the resource at the wellhead and increase and improve existing infrastructure to transport gas for processing elsewhere. The group will also focus on educating the public and working collaboratively across stakeholder groups, including government agencies, the Three Affiliated Tribes, researchers, landowners and key industry players.

The Flaring Task Force will address the North Dakota Industry Commission (NDIC) at 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2013, and will present a report to the NDIC later this year with recommendations for a collaborative effort to reduce flaring.

“This is a very complex issue without any single simple solution,” said John Paganis, commercial director for Murex Petroleum and co-chair for the Task Force. “Our task force will offer balanced, effective solutions for policy makers and regulators to ensure we keep oil development on pace while making the investments in infrastructure and new technologies to capture more of our natural gas.”

“The member companies of the NDPC want to responsibly develop the natural resources in North Dakota and America.  We also want to optimize the development of our oil and natural gas resources in North Dakota, but this will take significant investments of time and money and will require collaborative efforts between the industry, landowners, government agencies and a number of other key stakeholders,” said Kovacevich. “North Dakotans have a long history of sitting down and working together to find solutions that will meet the needs of all. We are confident that with time, all of the key stakeholders can work together to reach our goals of reducing flaring.”

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 www.ndoil.org.

Contact:  Tessa Sandstrom, Communications Manager, North Dakota Petroleum Council
– ### –

Bismarck, N.D. – The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) will host the Oil Can! Community Day on Monday, Sept. 16 during its Annual Meeting at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The Community Day will include two Bakken Basics Education Sessions, a barbecue, activities for kids, and access to the NDPC Members-Only Showcase.

“We are able to host educational sessions about the oil and gas industry in western North Dakota throughout the year through our Bakken Rocks CookFests and other events, but many residents in the eastern half of the state haven’t had the opportunity to attend these kinds of events,” said Tessa Sandstrom, NDPC communications manager. “By holding our Annual Meeting in Grand Forks, we are bringing the Bakken east and giving residents of the Red River Valley the chance to learn more about the Bakken and ask industry experts about oil and gas development in North Dakota.”

The Bakken Basics Education Sessions are scheduled for 2:30-4 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. and will include talks by Ron Ness, president of the NDPC; Lynn Helms, director for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources; and Kathy Neset, president of Neset Consulting Service. A community barbecue featuring smoked pulled pork, smoked sausage and BBQ chicken, courtesy of Halliburton, will follow the educational sessions and go until 7:30 p.m. NDPC member exhibits and activities for kids, including a face painter, balloon artist and bounce house and slide will be open from 3-7:30 p.m. Exhibitors include Grand Forks businesses, as well as leading oil and gas producers and service companies operating in the Bakken. A pumping unit, workover rig, wireline truck, crane and ONEOK’s Natural Gas Mobile Museum will also be on display.

The Oil Can! Community Day is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.northdakotaoilcan.com/events/2013CommunityDay/.

The NDPC Annual Meeting will run from Monday, Sept. 16 to Wednesday, Sept. 18, and will feature a keynote address from legendary Notre Dame coach, Lou Holtz. An agenda and costs for attending the full meeting are available at https://annualmeeting.risprojects.org. Members of the media wishing to attend may contact Tessa Sandstrom at tsandstrom@ndoil.org or 701-557-7744.

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 420 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. Our members produced 98% of the 243 million barrels of oil produced in North Dakota last year. For more information, go to www.ndoil.org.