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North Dakota Producers Start Center to Open Pipe Rights-of-Way

With production continuing to outpace takeaway infrastructure in the Bakken oil/gas boom, the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) has launched an easement information resource for landowners and land agents, hoping to streamline the rights-of-way process for pipeline permitting (see Shale Daily, Oct. 2).

The NDPC is offering an olive branch to the landowners and industry land agents, who have pushed back at times in the face of unprecedented growing pains in the state's oil/gas sector in the last six years (see Shale Daily, Nov. 1, 2013).

The new Easement Information Center (www.ndoil.org/oil_can_2/easementinfocenter) will include resources for both the landowners and the agents involved in securing easements as part of the pipeline development process. It is a product of an industry Right-of-Way Task Force.

NDPC is seeking to "build better relationships" with six separate resources in the web-based center -- Easements 101; Easements and Pipeline FAQ (frequently asked questions), Land Agent Code of Conduct, Summary of a Project's Scope, a Pipeline Company Contact List, and a Pipeline Incident Report Form.

North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) created the center as an offshoot of the industry Flaring Task Force that developed recommendations for what are now state-mandated gas capture plans. To reduce flaring more takeaway infrastructure is needed, and to get it built the pipeline permitting process is one means of accelerating the overall buildout.

The center will facilitate any landowner reporting pipeline incidents directly to DMR.

"Pipelines remain the key to solving many of the challenges we have in western North Dakota, including flaring, traffic and dust," said Ron Ness, president of the NDPC, adding that the issues associated with specific easements can be both difficult to understand and comprehend. "We wanted to make these resources available so both landowners and land agents could work toward a stronger understanding and build stronger relationships to help get this critical infrastructure built."

Ness acknowledged that the industry's full court press to build ever more infrastructure in recent years has "fatigued" local landowners, who are often working with multiple contractors and different land agents. "We want to ensure lines of communications remain open between landowners and land agents, and these resources are a step in that direction," Ness said.

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