Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—North Dakota oil production jumped 5.4 percent in April to more than 1.2 million barrels per day, coming in just shy of the state's record. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms called it a big surprise to see production levels within 2,500 barrels of the all-time high of nearly 1.23 million barrels per day. "We were not expecting that kind of a surge until late May, early June," Helms said Friday while discussing the preliminary figures.
BISMARCK—An air quality permit has been issued for an oil refinery that has drawn opposition for its proximity to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday, June 13. But Meridian Energy is facing potential appeals or legal challenges from multiple fronts, as conservation groups said Wednesday they are reviewing the permit and weighing their next steps. Also Wednesday, the Dakota Resource Council filed a court complaint against Meridian Energy alleging the company's zoning permit from Billings County is not valid.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota wind project that raised concerns with wildlife officials about impacts to habitat is moving forward this summer after the developer made a $557,000 payment to Ducks Unlimited. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department wrote in comments to state utility regulators that a considerable portion of the Foxtail Wind Project in Dickey County would affect native, unbroken prairie that is vital to declining wildlife populations.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is working to reduce the impact of wind development on wildlife habitat, but the agency's process to develop new guidelines has drawn opposition from the state's energy and agriculture industries. Game and Fish has proposed voluntary guidelines that aim to steer wind developers away from erecting turbines and building roads in wildlife habitat areas. The recommendations also outline a process for companies to offset their impact to habitat through projects that restore or reconstruct habitat elsewhere.
CROSBY, N.D. — A valve or piping connection leak caused an estimated 1,796 barrels, or 75,432 gallons, of brine to leak at a saltwater disposal well over the weekend in Divide County, the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division said Monday, June 4. Goodnight Midstream discovered the spill Saturday at a well 8 miles west of Crosby and reported it to regulators on Sunday. The spill was contained on the facility location within the diking around the saltwater disposal well, a spill report shows.
BELFIELD, N.D. — A proposal to expand U.S. Highway 85 in western North Dakota continues to get mixed reviews, with some saying it's needed to improve safety and others worried about impacts to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The North Dakota Department of Transportation is holding three public hearings this week on a plan to expand the highway from two to four lanes between Watford City and Interstate 94. It's still not known how the estimated $479 million project would be paid for or when construction would start.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's top oil regulator says a recent court ruling won't affect the public's ability to comment on a Missouri River survey required by a new law that aims to resolve disputes over mineral ownership. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said his office has received several inquiries from people confused about the impact of a lawsuit that challenges a state law approved last year.
BISMARCK—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke plans to spend four days next week in North Dakota, including visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park and meeting with state and tribal leaders. Zinke, who was invited to Bismarck to speak at an oil industry conference, will spend Monday, May 21, through Thursday, May 24, in North Dakota, followed by a three-day visit to South Dakota, Interior Press Secretary Heather Swift said.
BISMARCK—North Dakota natural gas production hit another record high in March even as oil production dropped, illustrating the need for more gas infrastructure in the Bakken. The state produced more than 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, with companies flaring about 12 percent of gas produced, the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday, May 15. Oil production dropped about 1 percent in March to 1.16 million barrels per day, preliminary figures show.
MINOT, N.D.—An Air Force ammunition container that fell off a Humvee in northwest North Dakota was still missing on Monday, May 14, and under investigation by the U.S. Air Force. A search involving Minot Air Force Base personnel was called off over the weekend after airmen exhausted efforts to find the missing ammunition container, said Danielle Lucero, public affairs officer for the base. A 91st Missile Wing Security Forces team lost a container of grenade rounds after it fell off a Humvee on May 1 while traveling on rough gravel roads west of Parshall.