The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said Wednesday that it has stepped up its inspection of wells near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers after recent rains raised the prospects of flooding.

"Data received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates the possibility of the confluence exceeding the defined flood stage of 22 feet by this coming weekend,” a DMR spokesperson said.

“A very small percentage of wells could be shut in,” the spokesperson told NGI’s Shale Daily on Wednesday. “There are less than 80 wells that have the potential to be impacted -- not all of them Bakken. Some operators are already shutting in as a precaution, and some may do it remotely the closer the weekend gets.

“The key is getting wellsites prepared in case flooding happens, because the first thing to go would be road access and that would make it much more difficult getting the well site secured. So we want them to do that now.“

Inspectors in the Williston office have been alerting producers in the area, urging them to take the necessary steps to prepare for possible flooding, said DMR’s Dave Hvinden, field staff supervisor. Among the preparatory steps are checking on the adequacy of diking and securing equipment at wellsites, such as filling tanks with fresh water.

DMR inspectors also have increased their visual inspections in the area.

As a precaution, some operators near the confluence will not produce from their wells in the area until after the flooding threat recedes, the spokesperson said. DMR's oil/gas division plans to continue to work with producers and monitor the situation through this week.