North Dakota Fights Fracking Rule

North Dakota Fracking
North Dakota Fracking

Two days after North Dakota filed an injunction to delay new federal fracking rules, a district court grants a temporary reprieve.

Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl delayed the new ruling, which was to go into effect this week, saying that permitting of oil and gas wells on federal land will proceed under current regulations until July 22nd.

The case before Judge Skavdahl combined a challenge from North Dakoa, Wyoming and Colorado with one from industry groups who believed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not follow federal rule-making law and exceeded their authority.

Related: Federal Fracking Regulations Challenged

Jessica Kershaw, a BLM spokeswoman said “While the matter is being resolved, the BLM will follow the court’s order and will continue to process applications for permit to drill and inspect well sites under its pre-existing regulations.

In March, the BLM passed the new regulations after a four-year investigaiton that included over 1.5 million public comments. The new ruling requires:

  1. A validation of well integrity in order to protect groundwater supplies
  2. Companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations
  3. Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife
  4. Companies to submit more detailed information before fracking to reduce the risk of cross-well contamination

In the following video, North Dakota Attorney General, says that the state will go through the lengthy process of a filing a permanent injunction if necessary.

North Dakota Fights Fracking Rule

North Dakota Developments, LLC
North Dakota Developments, LLC

North Dakota officials are warning that a new federal fracking rule will likely cost the state $300 a year in income and 1,900 jobs.

In March,the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized new rules to regulate hydraulic oil and gas fracturing on public lands. Several states have filed suit, arguing that the new rules supersede the state’s authority and “invade” the jurisdiction of the state regulatory bodies.

Related: Federal Fracking Regulations Challenged

The ruling is particularly significant to North Dakota because of it vast public lands. It is estimated that BLM has an interest in about a third of the drilling units in North Dakota that were acquired the mineral rights on defaulted farms during the the Great Depression.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources believes that the ruling will cause companies to leave North Dakota, which could cost the state $9.4 billion in royalties and taxes.

The rule is set to take effect on June 24th and to delay implementation, North Dakota filed a request for a preliminary injunction against the BLM while the court reviewed previous challenges. A hearing is set for June 23 in U.S. District Court in Casper, Wyo.

Read more at dmr.nd.gov

New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

New Regulations For Fracking on Public Lands
New Regulations For Fracking on Public Lands

After a four-year process that included over 1.5 million public comments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized new rules on Friday to regulate hydraulic oil and gas fracturing on public lands.

Related: GOP to Oppose Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

Since 2007, there has been a steady increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing, but the rules to oversee the practice had not been updated in three decades. The BLM began its work to update existing rules in 2010 after growing public concern amidst the shale oil boom that expanded the use of hydraulic fracturing, the technology that extracts oil from the rock.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that “Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations. This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources. As we continue to offer millions of acres of public lands for conventional and renewable energy production, it is absolutely critical the public have confidence that transparent and effective safety and environmental protections are in place.

The rules go into effect in 90 days and require the following:

  •  A validation of well integrity in order to protect groundwater supplies
  •  Companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations
  • Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife
  •  Companies to submit more detailed information before fracking to reduce the risk of cross-well contamination

This ruling only applies to development on public and tribal lands and could potentially impact more than 90,000 oil and gas wells and set a precedent for future regulations.

Response to the ruling has been swift, with environment groups applauding this as a necessary first step towards protecting our public lands. But the backlash from the energy industry was just as quick with Independent Petroleum Association of America already filing a lawsuit that challenges the regulation.

Read more at blm.gov

North Dakota To Implement New Regulations Combating the Disposal of Radioactive Waste

Frack Job
Frack Job

Beginning on June 1st, 2014, North Dakota will begin enforcing new regulations to combat the illegal disposal of radioactive waste. Leak proof containers will now be required at injection well-sites to store "oil socks"*, which are used to filter silt from waste water that is yielded from hydraulic fracking. The oil socks accumulate radium from the soil, rock and water present in the waste water.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average concentration of radium in wastewater sludge from oil and gas production is about 75 picocuries per gram. Currently, there aren't any designated dumps in the state that accept radioactive waste below naturally occurring levels in the soil - around 5 picocuries. Montana has some designated facilities that accommodate radioactive waste under 30 picocuries per gram.  As a result, multiple incidences have occurred where the oil socks have been disposed of improperly. Most recently, used oil socks have been found in Noonan, ND, at a deserted gas station, and on flatbed trailers in a landfill in Watford City, ND.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, state officials connected the Watford City, ND, incident to Riverton, WY-based RP Services, LLC. One of the company's clients, Continental Resources, cut ties with them after that discovery was made. Continental Resources is one of the largest operators in the Bakken Shale.

Fines for illegal dumping of radioactive waste can reach as high as $10,000 per incident in North Dakota. That's in addition to a $1,000 fine for standard illegal dumping.

Oil sock - absorbent tube-like apparatus that filters silt in the process of pumping waste water down injection wells

Abraxas Nears Completion On Bakken Pad Utilizing A Zipper Frack

Abraxas Petroleum Bakken Acreage Map
Abraxas Petroleum Bakken Acreage Map

Abraxas Petroleum has completed 109 of 122 frack stages in four wells on its Lillibridge unit in McKenzie County.

Production data will be released after flowback begins and production measurements can be made.

A well pad just west of this unit is currently being drilled and will be completed later in the summer.

Bob Watson, CEO, commented:

In numerous presentations over the last several months we spoke of an anticipated step change in production. As we head into the third quarter of 2013 we are poised to realize that production growth via our four new Bakken wells and upcoming Eagle Ford completions...... In the Bakken, our Lillibridge completions are running remarkably smoothly and our rig is working efficiently.

Read the full press release at abraxaspetroleum.com