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Industrial Commission approves oil mega-unit

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted 2-1 today to approve an oil drilling proposal to develop 25,000 acres in McKenzie County as one large unit, with Gov. Jack Dalrymple the sole opposing vote.

The proposal from QEP Energy Co. to develop what is known as the Grail-Bakken Unit will still require approval from 60 percent of mineral owners in the area.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, recommended approval of the proposal because QEP estimates it will be able to recover an additional 2.7 million barrels of oil.

All mineral owners in the large unit would share in every well in the unit. Helms said his staff revised QEP’s formula to better protect the rights of individual owners.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring supported the proposal.