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North Dakota Revises Oil, Gas Rules for Spills, Royalty Information

North Dakota's three-member Industrial Commission (IC) on Monday unanimously approved final oil and natural gas administrative rule changes, which include requirements to notify authorities about spills, site assessments and royalty information.

The rules now are set to undergo review by the North Dakota attorney general (AG). Except for the royalty reporting changes, they are scheduled to take effect April 1.

Two proposed changes were withdrawn, nine were modified and 32 were approved unchanged, according to IC Assistant Director Bruce Hicks.

The 43 changes approved set requirements of sundry notices for spills not responded to adequately, site assessment requirements before and after reclamation, and changes in required royalty information statements.

The IC, composed of the governor, AG and agricultural commissioner, said companies would have to notify authorities when fluids are not properly remediated on wellsites and at facilities, regarding the type of fluid spilled, root cause of the incident, and details on how the volumes were calculated.

In addition, the director of the state Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) would have discretion to require site assessments before and after reclamation of wellsites.

The IC also has delayed a requirement to provide royalty information statements until July 1, 2019 to allow industry enough time to comply.

A requirement to name the point of sale on the royalty statements was withdrawn, "but the rule keeps requirements for companies to list the amount and purpose of each deduction and identify what costs were deducted, including adjustments and corrections," a DMR spokesperson said.

The IC sets regulations for the state's oil and gas industry, which are enforced by DMR. DMR this year implemented rules clarifying and/or updating requirements covering bonding, natural gas gathering pipelines, oil and produced water lines and oil/gas facility berms.

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