Dalrymple: State of Emergency over Dakota Pipeline

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have gotten out of control in parts of North Dakota.

Related: Railroads Are Moving 70% Of Bakken Oil Productio            

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple took action last week against the mounting protests in his state over the Dakota Access Pipeline. In light of what he characterized as 'significant public safety concerns', Dalrymple issued an emergency declaration for southwest and south central North Dakota, 

As many as 1500 people have gathered where the pipeline is scheduled to cross the Missouri River, near Cannonball and hundreds more marched on the state capital. at least 29 arrested during recent demonstrations.

Demonstrators are concerned over the proposed 1,172-mile pipeline designed to connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas to Patoka, Illinois, transporting approximately 470,000 barrels of crude per day. Concerns range from how the pipeline will degrade topsoil to contamination of the river, which is primary source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Supporters believe that more pipelines are needed in order to reduce the high use of rail and truck transportation to move the highly flammable Bakken crude oil.

If protests continue, the resources needed by local officials to provide safety could cost from $750,000 to $1 million.

North Dakota Oil Production at Lowest Level Since 2014

Crude prices continue to take a toll on shale producers across the country, with North Dakota currently experiencing their lowest production levels in over two years. 

Related: Has the Bakken Peaked?                 

North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources released the latest data showing that state oil production dropped 2% in June, falling to its lowest level since 2014.

The state agency reported last week that total production fell to 30.8 million barrels of oil in June, down from 32.5 million barrels in May. 

We’re still looking at a $50 price point for increased hydraulic fracturing activity in North Dakota. We really do expect to drop below one million barrels a day pretty soon. It’s going to take a significant amount of time and effort to move it back up again.
— Lynn Helms, Director of ND Department of Mineral Resources

In 2014, North Dakota joined Texas to become the first states to produce over 1 MMbpd of crude. Since peaking at 1.23 MMbpd in December of 2014, production has dropped slightly but not as fast as drilling declines, which dropped 35% last year.  

Last week, the Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by one with Baker Hughes reporting 29 rigs running across our coverage area by midday Friday.

Samson Sell Bakken Assets for $15 Million

Samson Oil and Gas Limited has announced it will sell assets in the Bakken worth $15 million.

Related:  Bakken Bankruptcies on the Rise

Australian-based, Samson Oil & Gas Ltd. plans to sell its interest in the North Stockyard field in North Dakota in order to reduce its debt. The deal is scheduled to close on August 31st, 2016.

Angelus Private Equity Group is purchasing the field, located in the Williston Basin in Williams County, N.D., which includes the Mississippian Mission Canyon (Bluell), Mississippian-Devonian Bakken and Devonian Three Forks formations.

Highlights from the North Stockyard sale include: 

  1. A reduction of our debt level
  2. Providing cash liquidity that can be invested in the Foreman Butte project which, as illustrated by our recent reserve report has considerable growth potential, with more than $50 million of proved developed non-producing and proved undeveloped reserves.
  3. Maintaining compliance with our debt covenants.
  4. Maintaining the excellent working relationship that we have with our lender.

Last year, Samson shifted its focus to the Foreman Butte project, which involves wells in both Montana and North Dakota. 

Read more at samsoilandgas.com




North Dakota Sues the EPA

North Dakota has become the first state to sue the federal government regarding new methane rulings for oil and gas facilities. 

Related: Lynn Helms Urges Lawmakers Over Methane Rules

On Monday, the North Dakota’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), citing concerns that the new rules are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law."

The filing is on the heels of the testimony last week by Lynn Helms, the director of the N.D. Department of Mineral Resources. Helms spoke to a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee lending his voice to the growing opposition to the proposed regulations by the EPA. 

The new standards were proposed by the EPA in May and are designed to reduce 520,000 short tons of methane in 2015, the equivalent of 11 million metric ton of carbon dioxide. 

Methane is believed to be 28 to 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere over a 100-year period. These EPA’s proposed regulations will require reducing emissions by 40-45% over the next decade.