Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
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 — 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."
BISMARCK — North Dakota oil production increased 7 percent in October to an average of nearly 1.2 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Friday, Dec. 15. The increase of more than 78,000 barrels a day is the largest month-over-month oil production increase the state has ever recorded, said Director Lynn Helms. "It's an indicator of the strength behind the industry," he said. Natural gas production increased 6 percent and surpassed 2 billion cubic feet per day for the first time ever, according to preliminary figures.
BISMARCK — The Board of University and School Lands welcomed a new land commissioner Wednesday, Dec. 6, while recognizing outgoing commissioner Lance Gaebe for his service. Jodi Smith attended her first board meeting as commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands while Gaebe attended his last meeting after spending about a week helping with the transition. "He's been wonderful to work with, and I commend him as a leader," said Smith, in her eighth day in the position.
BISMARCK—A public comment period for a refinery proposed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park begins on Friday with a public hearing set for January, the North Dakota Department of Health said Tuesday. Health regulators are inviting comments on a draft air pollution control permit required for the construction of the Davis Refinery, proposed by Meridian Energy Group about two miles west of Belfield. A review by the Division of Air Quality found the refinery is expected to comply with federal and state air pollution rules and regulations.