Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—Revised natural gas numbers released this week show North Dakota's oil industry failed to meet the state gas capture target in October. The latest numbers from the Department of Mineral Resources show the industry flared slightly more than 16 percent of Bakken natural gas produced in October, not 15 percent as the agency reported from preliminary figures. That means the industry did not meet the targets set by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which requires companies to capture 85 percent of Bakken gas, or flare no more than 15 percent.
BISMARCK — North Dakota oil production is back in growth mode, up about 1 percent in November to 1.19 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources reported Tuesday, Jan. 16. Director Lynn Helms said he expects the state will set a new oil production record in the first half of 2018, exceeding the high of 1.23 million barrels per day set in December 2014. Helms cautioned, however, that extreme cold temperatures have recently caused some electrical problems in northwest North Dakota that could decrease January's production levels.
BELFIELD, N.D.—The company proposing an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park says it will not be visible from the park, but its analysis is limited to five observation points in the 46,000-acre South Unit. Meridian Energy Group conducted a study to determine whether the water vapor plume from a cooling tower at the proposed Davis Refinery could be seen from within the park. The study was requested by the North Dakota Department of Health, but is not a requirement for the air quality permit the agency is reviewing.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday, Jan. 10, against the state of North Dakota seeks to prevent the transfer of up to $2 billion in oil and gas mineral rights, challenging a recently enacted state law as unconstitutional. The case filed by state Rep. Marvin Nelson and others relates to an ongoing dispute over the ownership of minerals under Lake Sakakawea, which the Legislature sought to clarify last year through Senate Bill 2134.
BISMARCK — A judge has found a North Dakota law limiting damages in medical malpractice cases to be unconstitutional. In a case involving a woman who was disabled due to a surgery at CHI St. Alexius Health, South Central Judicial District Judge Cynthia Feland denied a motion from the hospital to reduce a jury's verdict. A jury last April awarded Chenille Condon, 35, of Fort Yates, $3.5 million after finding cardiac and thoracic surgeon Dr. Allen Michael Booth negligently performed a surgery on Condon that caused a serious stroke in 2012.
BISMARCK — Oneok recently announced plans for a 900-mile natural gas liquids pipeline that will accommodate increasing North Dakota production and play a role in reducing natural gas flaring. The proposed Elk Creek Pipeline will have the capacity to transport up to 240,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids from a terminal near Sidney, Montana, to Bushton, Kansas. The pipeline will run adjacent to Oneok's existing Bakken NGL and Overland Pass pipelines, which are operating at full capacity.
BISMARCK—A gun vault in the lower level of the North Dakota Heritage Center contains a Vietnamese machine gun brought home by a soldier from northwest North Dakota. Storage aisles nearby contain a dormitory refrigerator discarded by the University of North Dakota and wedding cake toppers from three generations of North Dakota couples. The state's largest museum collects both ordinary items and the extraordinary to tell the story of North Dakota and the state's residents.
BISMARCK — North Dakota oil production returned to near-record levels in 2017, which one industry leader credited in part to the Dakota Access Pipeline. "It has been a game-changer," said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The pipeline system connecting North Dakota with Gulf Coast markets has lowered transportation costs, making the price for Bakken crude more competitive.
BISMARCK—Volunteers at the state's largest museum have found that treasures come in all shapes, sizes and forms. While sorting artifacts in the lower level of the North Dakota Heritage Center, Mary Diebel discovered a bone bead that is now on exhibit. Sandra Wiche, who volunteers with Diebel, enjoys finding ceramics with interesting decorations "Every now and then you find a little jewel," Wiche said.
BISMARCK — Beth Campbell likes to think of the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum as similar to an ant farm. "We've got all this pretty, smooth stuff on top," said Campbell, visitor services coordinator. "Then you get down below and there's all this activity that you just don't generally see."