Flaring Lawsuit Could Be A Serious Blow To North Dakota Oil Production, And Devastating For Mineral Rights Owners

File photo of an aerial image showing a natural gas flare after sunset outside of Williston

A series of class action lawsuits filed by a lawyer who has, in the past, done extensive work for left-wing activist groups like the Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club is supposedly about protecting mineral owner rights who are being hurt by the waste of valuable gas when it is flared instead of captured.

But can that be true? It’s important to understand that flaring is a by-product of oil production in North Dakota, and while oil producers are doing the best they can to capture and sell as much of the gas as possible (the amount of gas captured has roughly tripled since 2010), infrastructure limitations and the low price of natural gas in general has made it impossible, at worst, and unprofitable at best to capture all the gas produced in North Dakota.

If these lawsuits are successful in roadblocking flaring – which, to be clear, is a problem which merits debate – it would be devastating for mineral rights owners as it would also block the production of the oil that comes up with the gas.

Ron Ness, head of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, explains to the Williston Herald:

“It’s rather confusing,” he said. “You have mineral owners who get benefits on terms of 80-to-1 on oil production from those wells and, ironically, if you don’t allow those wells to produce, you don’t produce the oil.”

Meanwhile, the lawyer bringing the lawsuits continues to insist this is about protecting mineral rights owners:

A statement from Bismarck attorney Derrick Braaten, who represents some of the plaintiffs, called Bakken natural gas some of the most valuable in the country due to its density.

“The lawsuits seek to force operators to comply with state law and pay royalties to mineral owners on the value of flared gas, and by so doing create a compelling economic incentive for producers to reduce and eliminate the wasteful practice of flaring,” Braaten said.

The key to understanding this lawsuit is recognizing that gas production in North Dakota is largely a by-product of oil production. The gas produced only has valuable for mineral rights holders if there is infrastructure to capture it, and profit to be had by selling it. If oil producers have to wait until those things are true before they can make a well produce, there will be serious delays in production, and maybe no production at all. Which I have to think is sort of the goal for a lawyer who has, in the past, represented the Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club in other lawsuits.

If Braaten gets his way, North Dakota mineral rights owners would get less from their property, not more, both in the long and short term.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • tony_o2

    It will also increase the cost of natural gas when the producers have to pay considerably more to get the infrastructure built faster. Thus driving up costs for everyNorth Dakotan who uses natural gas.

    • zdavid53

      Well, not really since the price of natural gas is so low, the cost of producing it will not come to bear in the sale of the gas to the eventual consumer. It will, however end up being a major pain for producers and an added cost. How many added costs and added taxes and added regulations can the industry bear? Better hope the price of crude doesn’t tank in any way shape or form. The boom could be gone faster than it came. This is especially true if other sources of crude oil in other parts of the country are far easier to produce and there is a true competition for the marketplace. Downward pressure on the price of crude might not prove catastrophic for other regions of the country, but crude oil in North Dakota is dependent on long term crude oil markets of at least 80 dollars a barrel sweet crude oil New York price. That means about 68 to 70 dollars a barrel for North Dakota producers. The litigators involved in this case don’t really care.

      • tony_o2

        If the producers have added cost, you dont think they’ll pass those costs onto the consumers?

        • zdavid53

          They will only get the market price for their gas which hinges on Henry Hub. That is the basis for the cost of natural gas or more correctly the market price. It is actuall very similar to commodity pricing of say corn or wheat. If the price of corn or wheat at the market price is down, just because the price of production happens to be higher to the farmer because of regulations, cost of production etc., that is not what drives the marketplace. MDU does not care what hardships and costs are involved in the production of the gas. They will pay what is a worldwide market price for the natural gas and not a penny more.

          • 2hotel9

            Producers will pass on any added costs to customers. Period. Full stop. Happens every day.

        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          Producers are price takers.

          • 2hotel9

            Really? So, it is the whole free market thing you got a problem with.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        Don’t you care if the law is violated? The operators are flaring gas in violation of the law. Why are you crying a river for them?

        • 2hotel9

          Which specific law are they violating?

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You would know this already if you read the plaintiff’s complaint or if you read my response to JoeMN.

          • 2hotel9

            I read all I can find publicly, and that is a pile. Did not see you list the specific law/reg, thats why I asked.

    • zdavid53

      On a different note, the heart of this case is contract law. If the producer has a contract with the landowner to pay say 20% of produced oil and gas sold, the judge should have the guts to throw the case out of court. If the district judge involved doesn’t have the guts to throw it out, the producers should take it right up to the North Dakota supreme court and get it thrown out.

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        I know not every lease requires them to sell the gas produced by the well.

        • zdavid53

          Leases do not require gas sales but rather promise to pay by contract say 20% of what is sold. Obviously if the gas is flaired, there is no gas sales. What the litigators are trying to do is produce a situation that hinges on a string, using regulations of the state, not contracts. It is a hail mary and a nuisance of a suit. That is why the judges need to throw it out like a wet rag.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Not all lease contracts contain the language you suggest. But even if a lease contract requires the lessee to pay the lessor a 20 percent royalty on all oil and gas sold, would you construe that contract clause to allow the lessee to waste or give away the oil and gas produced and thus be relieved of the obligation to pay royalties? I don’t think so. I believe a court would imply an obligation on the part of the lessee to save the hydrocarbons produced and to use best efforts to sell it for the benefit of both lessee and lessor. Again, as discussed above, statutory law is part of every lease contract and waste is prohibited as a matter of law. The operator of a well must comply with the statutory exception that allows flaring under specified circumstances, and a failure to comply makes the operator liable for royalties and taxes on the flared gas as a matter of law. I believe the oil and gas well operators are required to follow the law just like the rest of us, are they not? Thus, your reasons “why the judges need to throw [the lawsuit] out like a wet rag” have no merit.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        Why would a court throw out the case? Some people might have lease contracts and some people might not. What difference does that make? If you read the complaint, the cause of action (claim) is not based on contract law or on any person’s particular lease contract. It is based on statutory law under NDCC Chapter 38-08, which requires the operator under specified circumstances to pay royalties and taxes on flared gas. Furthermore, WASTE is prohibited as a matter of substantive law (unless an statutory exception exists) and flaring gas is waste. The legislature enacted a statute, however, that allows this waste to occur but only for a limited time and under specified circumstances. If the operator fails to comply with the substantive law, then the operator MUST pay royalties on the flared gas. Everyone is required to know and to follow the law. To the extent anyone’s particular lease contract may have any relevance whatsoever, the North Dakota Supreme Court declared, “We also construe contracts in light of existing statutes, which become part of and are read into the contract as if those provisions were included in it.” Egeland v. Continental Resources, Inc., 2000 ND 169, para. 10, 616 N.W.2d 861.

        • JoeMN

          As permitted under rules of the industrial commission, gas produced with crude oil from an oil well may be flared during a one year period from the date of first production from the well.

          A producer may obtain an exemption from this section from the industrial commission upon application that shows to the satisfaction of the industrial commission that connection of the well to a natural gas gathering line is economically infeasible at the time of the application or in the foreseeable future or that a market for the gas is not available and that equipping the well with an electrical generator to produce electricity from gas or employing a collection system described in subdivision d of subsection 2 is economically infeasible
          http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t38c08.pdf?20131026200710

          The slip and fall lawyers are demanding that the
          plaintiffs and the proposed classes be paid royalties on the gas flared
          during the first year of production and during the period after one year
          of production as well as all gas improperly flared in the future

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            JoeMN: The Commission issues field rules as follows:

            “All wells in the _____-Bakken Pool shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate for a period of 60 days commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 200 barrels per day for a period of 60 days; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 150 barrels per day for a period of 60 days, thereafter, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 100 barrels of oil per day; if and when such wells are connected to a gas gathering and processing facility the foregoing restrictions shall be removed, and the wells shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate. The Director is authorized to issue an administrative order allowing unrestricted production at a maximum efficient rate for a period not to exceed 120 days, commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run, if the necessity therefor can be demonstrated to his satisfaction.”

            If the operator violates the rule, then the flared gas is prohibited waste and statutory law requires the operator to pay royalties and taxes on the flared gas.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            JoeMN: The Commission issues rules as follows:

            “All wells in the _____-Bakken Pool shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate for a period of 60 days commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 200 barrels per day for a period of 60 days; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 150 barrels per day for a period of 60 days, thereafter, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 100 barrels of oil per day; if and when such wells are connected to a gas gathering and processing facility the foregoing restrictions shall be removed, and the wells shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate. The Director is authorized to issue an administrative order allowing unrestricted production at a maximum efficient rate for a period not to exceed 120 days, commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run, if the necessity therefor can be demonstrated to his satisfaction.”

            If the operator violates the rule, then the flared gas is prohibited waste and statutory law requires the operator to pay royalties and taxes on the flared gas. See also:

            38-08-03. Waste prohibited. Waste of oil and gas is prohibited.

            38-08-06.4. Flaring of gas restricted – Imposition of tax – Payment of royalties –

            Industrial commission authority.

            1. As permitted under rules of the industrial commission, gas produced with crude oil from an oil well may be flared during a one-year period from the date of first production from the well.

            2. After the time period in subsection 1, FLARING OF GAS FROM THE WELL MUST CEASE and the well must be:

            a. Capped;

            b. Connected to a gas gathering line;

            c. Equipped with an electrical generator that consumes at least seventy-five percent of the gas from the well;

            d. Equipped with a system that intakes at least seventy-five percent of the gas and natural gas liquids volume from the well for beneficial consumption by means of compression to liquid for use as fuel, transport to a processing facility, production of petrochemicals or fertilizer, conversion to liquid fuels, separating and collecting over fifty percent of the propane and heavier hydrocarbons; or

            e. Equipped with other value-added processes as approved by the industrial commission which reduce the volume or intensity of the flare by more than sixty percent.

            3. An electrical generator and its attachment units to produce electricity from gas and a collection system described in subdivision d of subsection 2 must be considered to be personal property for all purposes.

            4. FOR A WELL OPERATED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, THE PRODUCER SHALL PAY ROYALTIES to royalty owners upon the value of the flared gas and shall also pay gross production tax on the flared gas at the rate imposed under section 57-51-02.2.

            5. The industrial commission may enforce this section and, for each well operator found to be in violation of this section, may determine the value of flared gas for purposes of payment of royalties under this section and its determination is final.

            6. A producer may obtain an exemption from this section from the industrial commission upon application that shows to the satisfaction of the industrial commission that connection of the well to a natural gas gathering line is economically infeasible at the time of the application or in the foreseeable future or that a market for the gas is not available and that equipping the well with an electrical generator to produce electricity from gas or employing a collection system described in subdivision d of subsection 2 is economically infeasible.

  • borborygmi45

    I can’t believe that there isn’t a clause about flaring in any contract signed by the mineral rights owners that states flaring can and will happen.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      You’d think that there would be some standard boilerplate that doesn’t require them to pay on byproducts.

      • borborygmi45

        You would think.

      • borborygmi45

        Time to get new lawyers if it isn’t

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        Gas is a natural resource. You may characterize gas as a “byproduct” stemming from the production of oil, but your characterization does not change the law which prohibits the waste of both oil and gas. Whether a mineral owner has a lease or does not have a lease, royalties must be paid on both oil and gas as a matter of law. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          I was able to look at ONE lease, I don’t know that many people that have oil rights. This said that if the gas wasn’t used that the company had to pay a nominal rate of $1 per acre of gas rights per year.

          I don’t know how common that is, but the oil company lawyers aren’t known to be stupid.

    • zdavid53

      Put a contract for sale on say 320 acres at say 1500 dollars an acre and say 20% royalty of anything sold and see if you care about flairing of natural gas. The oil companys write the contracts and the mineral owners sign them. 480,000 dollars in this case, and 20% of crude oil of say a 500 barrel per day (500 X $80? X 1 day = 40,000 dollars a day X 20% = 8000 dollars a day). Are most people going to keep the well from producing until the gas 800 (MCF/day X 2.50/MCF = 2000 X20% = 400 dollars a day) can be pipelined? Are they not going to sign because of this? And these are somewhat robust numbers for the gas.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      What you believe or cannot believe is not relevant. Pull out your particular lease contract and find the language that waives your statutory right to be paid royalties on flared gas if the operator fails to comply with statutory law.

  • sick n tired

    ” to be clear, is a problem which merits debate”

    Really? Apparently the ND Legislature doesn’t think so. Mathern proposed a solution to this that would have saved the state this lawsuit and, more importantly, all the grief/general opposition to this practice from land owners who are concerned about something else besides their immediate dollar (no doubt a very confusing concept to a child like Ness who wants his tax cut AND WANTS IT NOW-WAAAAAH!).

    But, of course, ignored completely by R’s. Supposedly an industry-killer or some other bullshit they had inserted into their mouths in addition to the Koch Bros’ cocks at an ALEC convention.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Yes, the Koch brothers are behind everything.

      Sigh.

      Mathern’s leg is.action was misguided. Sure, it might have stopped flaring. It would have also turned off north daktoa’s economic boom like a light switch. Which is why it didn’t pass.

      But you’re wrong about the legislature not debating. They did debate Mathern’s bill and others extensively. That Mathern and Democrats in general lost the debate is irrelevant.

      • sick n tired

        Oh, I’m sorry, the Koch Bros aren’t the main funding behind ALEC and the below members of the ND gov aren’t in it and bring its ‘model’ legislation to our state?

        And no, its not really ‘irrelevant’ that the Democrats had a solution that would have solved a problem and the Republicans chose to ignore it. I don’t think that word means what you seem to think it means.

        Bought and Paid for:
        Rep. Wesley Belter (R-62)[1], ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[2]
        Rep. Randy G. Boehning (R-27), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member [3]
        Rep. Alan Carlson (R-41, House Majority Leader), ALEC State Chairman[4] and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member [5]
        Rep. Jeff Delzer (R-8), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[6]
        Rep. Bette Grande (R-41), ALEC State Chairman[4] and member of ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force [7]
        Rep. Patrick R. Hatlestad (R-1), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [8]
        Rep. Craig Headland (R-29), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member[9]
        Rep. Jim Kasper (R-46)[10][1]
        Rep. Lawrence R. Klemin (R-47), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [8]
        Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-16) [11]
        Rep. Kim Koppelman (R-13), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member [12]
        Rep. William Kretschmar (R-28) [13]
        Rep. Scott Louser (R-5), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[14]
        Rep. Lisa M. Meier (R-32), ALEC Education Task Force Member[15]
        Speaker David Monson (R-10)[10][1], ALEC Education Task Force Alternate[16]
        Rep. Mike R. Nathe (R-30), ALEC International Relations Task Force Member[17]
        Rep. Mark Owens (R-17) [18]
        Rep. Chet Pollert (R-29), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[19]
        Rep. Karen Rohr (R-31) [20]
        Rep. Dan J. Ruby (R-38), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[21]
        Rep. Blair Thoreson (R-44), former State Chairman[1][22][4] and Communications and Technology Task Force Co-Chair[23]
        Rep. Don Vigesaa (R-23), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[24]
        Rep. Alon Wieland (R-13), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[25]
        Senate
        Sen. John M. Andrist (R-2)[10], ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [8]
        Sen. Bill Bowman (R-39) [13]
        Sen. Dick Dever (R-32), ALEC International Relations Task Force Member[26]
        Sen. Jerry Klein (R-14), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[27]
        Sen. Karen K. Krebsbach (R-40), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Alternate [8]
        Sen. Judy Lee (R-13), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[28]
        Sen. Rich P. Wardner (R-37), ALEC Education Task Force Member[29]

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          ALEC is hardly the only group that proposes model legislation in states like North Dakota. Plenty of groups – including labor union-backed groups and the like – do it.

          I think your problem is that conservatives dare to share and try to implement their ideas, but it’s easier to rail against some imagined right-wing cabal.

          And the problem with Mathern’s idea wasn’t that it came from a Democrat. It’s that it was a bad idea. It would have stopped flaring, sure, but at what cost? Blocking ND mineral rights owners from developing billions of dollars worth of leases.

          No thanks.

          • borborygmi45

            Is there a Left Wing Cabal?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I think there is an organized left that works together to achieve certain objectives. It is neither secret nor sinister, and it hadcounterparts on the right.

            This is how democracy works.

          • sick n tired

            Oh wise Rob Port, teach me more with your…experience writing on a blog (with mysterious, unspecified funding…) that you clearly do not research previous to shitting out for all to see.

            Pray tell, who and what are these left wing groups that do this in ND? Can you even name one, I’m serious, just one, bill that was model legislation from the left this past session?

            Oh, and if ALEC doesn’t like being vilified it should maybe stop kicking out so many reporters… http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/08/10933/what-alec-hiding-cmd-reporter-kicked-out-alec-hotel

          • zdavid53

            Sarcasm and profanity are not a persuave method of debate. The words may sound neat to you, but are of little use in arguement.

          • sick n tired

            I will take your silence and inability to come up with a single example of imaginary left-wing model legislation in our state government as a concession.

            Until me meet again, good day.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Hey, sorry, I’m a busy guy and this site gets a lot of comments. I don’t always see everyone, but I answered you above.

            Feel free to apologize for being wrong.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I’m not sure I’d call someone from that group a “reporter,” but whatever.

            ALEC is a private organization, and they get plenty of media coverage.

            And there are lots of groups like ALEC on the left. The Progressive States Network, for one. The American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange, for another.

            The National Conference of State Legislatures is very active in North Dakota and crafts model legislation all the time, as does Council of State Governments (though I’m not sure how active they are in ND).

            So yes, the left promotes model legislation too, and there’s not a darn thing wrong with it. Model legislation is just an idea. Why are you so scared of the exchange of ideas?

        • zdavid53

          It is you who doesn’t understand the length to which producers have gone to make things happen. Pipeliners are working in an unbelievable fashon to get gas lines laid. Yet, you would support a law which would bring the industry close to a standstill. It would be driven by an ideological view and not by economics.

    • heyYuna

      Yuna, I see you’ve changed your name, yet it’s the same crap out of your mouth.

      • sick n tired

        That addressed my point thoroughly addresses my point and counters it.

        And by that I mean the exact opposite. I don’t know who Yuna is, I’m actually not him (or her, I guess I don’t know what gender that name usually is) but if I was, good job saying my name like it makes your point for you.

    • zdavid53

      Apparently you don’t know Ron Ness and yet find it necessary to assult him personally. Then you see fit to use profanity about a subject you know very little about. Oil producers are in a very risky business, and several years of elevated oil prices have made North Dakota oil production look like an inevatible given. Regulations and pricing pressures could very easily yank the rug out from under the industry. Ron doesn’t want to see that. When you have risen to the top in an industry littered with losers like the Kock brothers have, maybe we’ll listen to you too. Until then, cheap profanity and name calling doen’t cut it.

      • sick n tired

        I’m sure Ronnie’s gigantic paychecks from fossil fuel companies will more than make up for any “assult”s.

        • zdavid53

          So I guess you know RonNess. He is the head of the North Dakota Oil Pac. He gets a salary from that organization. To be a member of the pac, there is a membership fee. Yes, oil companys can and do donate above the necessary level at times. The Oil Pac is basically a lobby organization done at the state level. I don’t believe there are any gigantic paychecks that are even similar to the ones Al Gore has come to know. He is a modest man who is doing a great job. An honest job. I can attest to the fact that he would not attack you personally nor insult your intelligence with profanity and racial slurs.

          • zdavid53

            Also,I doubt that he would use a company computer on company time to write on a blog.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            You might be surprised who all reads SAB.

            As for Ness and the NDPC, I’m not sure why anyhone would be against an industry organizing itself into a group to protect and promte its interests?

            All sorts of industries and interests do that. Is sick n tired arguing that it’s ok for, say, the Sierra Club to organize environmentalists but not ok for the oil industry in North Dakota to organize itself?

  • Broadway Joe

    this lawsuit isn’t about helping people but rather about helping an agenda.

    • zdavid53

      The lawsuit is an ideological position and is meant to harass the oil and gas producers.

      • Sue

        You got that right.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        This is so sad! These poor harassed oil and gas producers will have no choice but to blame the democrats/liberals for leaving the state even though they intended to leave all along, but not before they acquire 100 percent control over every mineral acre in this state.

        • 2hotel9

          They are PURCHASING control of property owner’s mineral rights for a specified amount of time. Where is the problem in that?

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            1) If my mineral acres are “held by production” by a well drilled on someone else’s mineral acres, and 2) that well is not actually draining any oil from the pool under my acreage, and 3) I am being paid one-one thousandth of one percent of the proceeds from the sale of someone else’s oil and gas, THEN how have the producers PURCHASED control of my mineral acres? It seems to me that the oil and gas regulators have GIVEN them control of my mineral acres through the creation of a super-sized unit that has nothing to do with spacing wells over the common pool.

          • 2hotel9

            You are being paid, you just want more. Go it.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You still have not justified your statement that the producers are purchasing control of property owner’s mineral rights. Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to the issue. Let me ask you this: When the producers take your royalty money from you, which was derived from the production of oil under your mineral acres, and give the vast majority of your royalty money to a multitude of others who are not contributing their oil to the royalty pot and who may never contribute their oil, hasn’t your property been taken? You’re happy that the producers are using YOUR MONEY to “purchase” control of MY MINERAL ACRES?

          • 2hotel9

            You signed the lease, you are unhappy with the pay out. As for my money being used, wrong. It is the money of the oil/gas developers, not USG. But hey, try another twirl, maybe people who hate oil companies will like it, too.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            There you go again, repeating your dribble! No evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Try to get that turrets thing under control.

          • 2hotel9

            You are the one who has told us, repeatedly, that you are pissed about the pay out from the lease you signed. Its your dribble, I just keep pouring on you.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            “A” is for Apple.

          • 2hotel9

            And now you concede defeat. Hopefully when the judge bounces your a$$ out of court he will slap a nice, hefty fine on you.

        • JoeMN

          And the enviro Luddite tips his hand

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Silly you. I was mocking the diversionary political rhetoric that accuses left-wing activists of despicable acts against our beloved oil industry. God forbid if oil companies are required to obey our laws. We should just close our eyes to violations because doing otherwise is harassment. Oil and gas producers ought to be allowed to engage in a systemic disregard of the law, control all of our mineral acres without actually developing most of them, and then leave town like Monopoly’s Uncle Pennybags with money stuffed in their bulging pockets. Have a nice day, JoeMN.

          • JoeMN

            This diatribe is brought to you all on account of seven now likely wealthy mineral rights owners who believe they are owed more.

            Meanwhile, NOBODY makes a dime if your theory holds true where producers pack their bags and move on.

            _______

            We should just close our eyes to violations because doing otherwise is harassment.
            >>>>>>

            My guess is we will never know as the oil producers will settle to avoid the high costs of litigation, and this shakedown will end like most others with lawyers counting fists full of cash

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            The next time someone owes you money, JoeMN, we should tally up your wealth. If we conclude that you’re “likely wealthy” enough, then the debt that is owed to you should be forgiven. Otherwise, you would be a filthy shakedown artist. I didn’t know that was the law. Is that the law, JoeMN?

            You and others are treating the oil companies as if they are being harassed and victimized when they are asked to comply with the law and to pay their debts.

            The oil companies have been foreshadowing their exodus from our state for quite some time. As soon as they secure their leases, the feeding frenzy will be over. This lawsuit plays right into your twisted agenda. You can now slap a label on the plaintiff mineral owners, call them dirty names associated with a political ideology you demonize, and blame them for what the oil companies intended to do from the onset of the boom.

          • 2hotel9

            “lawyers counting fists full of cash” Thats what scab-kneed ambulance chasers do, steal money from real human beings and drag all of us down into their personal cess pools.

          • 2hotel9

            10 ring, Joe. Nice shooting cowboy.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Is this a shooting competition? If you’re sitting in judgment as to who is winning the competition, why do you give kudos to the guy who came to the range with a gun loaded with blanks? I would like to see some real ammunition used by those who are criticizing the lawsuit. Political hyperbole and logical fallacies cannot in good faith be substituted for actual facts and law.

          • 2hotel9

            You got him screaming, Joe, keep kicking.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I think you’re right.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Please explain this agenda in detail. Is it a right wing plot or a left wing plot? who are we going to blame when the inevitable bust occurs and the oil companies leave as soon as their leases are secured?

  • yy4u2

    Some progressive lawyers are good at that: they screw their opposition, they screw their client without them realizing it, and they shoot for an outcome that makes them happy but not the parties involved.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      yy4u2: progressive? what does that mean? IMO, this is exactly what the “opposition” wants! They want to be portrayed as the victims while they are violating the law!

      • yy4u2
        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          You still haven’t explained why the producers are being victimized (screwed) by this lawsuit when it’s the producers who violated the law. If you believe that producers should be allowed to waste as much gas as they want through flaring and evade their obligations to pay royalties on the wasted gas, then you need to convince our legislators to change the law. And then you need to consider, if a new law is passed that allows someone to take away your property interests without paying, would that law be constitutional? It’s easy for you to label producers as victims of “progressive lawyers”, but not so easy for you to defend your position.

  • grammie

    This is only another way Obama is going to try and stop Oil production and coal in North Dakota When are people going to understand this president will stop at nothing. I am 70 and I agree with Tim I have always seen flares in ND. I would bet if one could follow the trail it will lead to Washington and the EPA wanting to shut it down.

    • Zog

      Wells will produce longer and fields will yield more oil if the gas is reinjected instead of flared. Therefore, reinjection is now required in most advanced jurisdictions. The exceptions are third-world shit holes and, now I have just learned, North Dakota.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about. The North Dakota oil fields are shale oil, and as the New York Times (hardly a shill for big oil) reported back in 2011, reinjection doesn’t work that well here.

        The oil companies say economic reality is driving the flaring in the Bakken, the biggest oil field discovered in the United States in four decades. They argue that they cannot afford to pay for pipelines and processing plants to capture and sell the gas until they actually drill oil wells and calculate how much gas will bubble out of the oil. And reinjection of the carbon dioxide, commonly done in conventional oil fields, is more difficult and expensive in less permeable shale fields.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/business/energy-environment/in-north-dakota-wasted-natural-gas-flickers-against-the-sky.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        • Zog

          “… reinjection of the carbon dioxide …” Huh? Whoever wrote that article wasn’t much of a petroleum expert. CO2 flooding is effective in most fields and is being used just across the border from you in southern Saskatchewan but possibly, as you say, wouldn’t be economic in tight shales. Reinjection of natural gas that is already available on site, at no cost except for compression, would be a completely different situation.

          • John_Wayne_American

            I dont beleve they are re-injecting into the shale formations, more like thier older conventional plays. If it worked on shale, why would we have to ship it from Beulah clear to Canada rather than just over to McKenzie county?

          • zdavid53

            Also, co2 is only about 2 1/2 % of the gas coming from the bakken.

          • zdavid53

            It is absolutely not being used in the shale in Canada. It is being used in some of the legacy fields, and then is vented when it comes bask out.

      • Drain52

        Ask yourself if this makes any sense: An oil company drills a multi-million dollar hole, hits oil which it hopes to make money on, and then burns off the natural gas just for the fun of it. Go figure, eh?

        • zdavid53

          I’ll just bet if it was your 10 million dollars drilling the well and you looked at the entire situation, you would do the same thing. Also, what you are asking is for someone to spend big dollars on a pipeline for natural gas before it is even known if there will be natural gas. After there is a proven natural gas flow is when the people with the money are willing to build the pipeline.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Why are you blaming Obama and the EPA? they didn’t force the operators to violate North Dakota law.

  • awfulorv

    Seems the ideal time for the oil and gas industry to re-introduce the populace to the delights of the Dirigible type transportation business.
    Too bad they haven’t already done so, we could use the Hindenburg like vehicles to transport congress to the upcoming Florida funeral of one of their own.

  • Dallas

    Think someone is carrying the oil can for sponsors of websites, a bad rqadio talk show and laughable newspaper.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Or maybe believing that is just easier than arguing in the realm of facts.

  • Sue

    One of the main 10 plaintiffs is Sarah Vogel. In 2005 with two partners she formed the Sarah Vogel Law Firm, later renamed Sarah Vogel Law Partners practicing there until mid-2011. She then became “of counsel” to the firm she had co-founded (now called Baumstark Braaten Law Partners, P.C.). From 1985 to 1988, she was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of North Dakota specializing on farm crisis issues from 1985 to 1988. In 1988 she ran for and was elected to the position of North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture

    One of the lawyers at the company involved in the Flaring suit:

    Mr. Sattler returned to his home state of North Dakota to join the Litigation Division of the Office of Attorney General, serving as lead attorney in the Tobacco Master Settlement Litigation and lead attorney in the multistate litigation trial team in the United States v. Oracle antitrust case. Mr. Sattler later worked as general counsel to the North Dakota Industrial Commission where his duties included conducting hearings before the Oil and Gas Division. While at the State, he also served as general counsel for the State Land Department and State Water Commission. In 2011, Mr. Sattler joined Baumstark Braaten Law Partners where most of his practice involves representation of landowners and mineral owners in cases against energy companies.

    THE LAW OFFICE HANDLING THIS CRAP LOAD IS? Baumstark Braaten Law Partners, formerly known as Sarah Vogel Law Partners

    Derrick Braaten, is by no means anywhere near an ideal of protecting the mineral owner. I would never put my minerals in his hands. I know how he and Sarah are tied together. The others involved?? I would easily speak against the pair. I did pull Sarah’s lease. She does not have a case pertaining to flaring on her property. Leases are public record.

    • ellinas1

      Sue: ” I know how he and Sarah are tied together.”

      Please do tell and enlighten us plebes as to how “…. he and Sarah are tied together.”

      • Sue

        He was her little golden boy in the firm she co-founded. I know they are operating within the law on this suit. I do question motive. My feeling is that the oil companies have our acreage tied up here. It takes one well on our oversized units to hold production. They have it in the bag. They have been easily grabbing our zones now – Bakken – upper, lower, Three Forks..Pugh clauses are undone by the Commission. The companies have managed to hold these zones by production of one well just as the one well holds over 1200 acres above it.
        These companies are ready to rock out and secure the other states. Just bundle up ND and sell on the market.
        How can they make us look better to a buyer? Lower the extraction tax.
        They can also use the extraction tax to make it appear to be our own fault they left. They can also say this Gas suit was the icing on the cake.
        I say hit back and decrease the spacing unit to the size a well actually drains. Take back our damn zones. Then decrease that extraction tax. It will be made up by sales tax and excess wells needed to hold that actual production. They should have to adhere to our laws. Quit giving away our zones.
        I do agree they should follow the law and place the infrastructure for the gas or apply to the commission and explain the delay.
        I will not join in with this suit. I do not trust the motive behind it. I would like to see how much the potential out come would garner and the benefit to law firm. I understand the benefits from the tobacco settlement are still being realized for the attorneys here in this state. It was substantial. I have an understanding that Heidi has benefited through campaign contributions from these lawyers. I know it is legal. I still object to money trails such as this.

        • ellinas1

          I’ve only asked about your contention “” I know how he and Sarah are tied together.”
          You have not provided concrete evidence.

          However the unsolicited part of your response shows how the moneyed interests have tied a noose around the neck of the state of North Dakota and are making out like bandits with no fear of the law.
          And on top of that, you have shills like Rob Port who continually defend the robbers of the peoples wealth and are calling for an increase in the profits of the corporate bandits via lower taxes.

  • JoeMN

    As is so typical with these slip and fall lawyers, they are likely hoping for a generous settlement, at which point flaring will cease to be a concern to them.

    • 2hotel9

      Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Its all about settling out of court, heading to their cars with big ole sacks with a $ printed on them.

    • Sue

      Joe,
      In order to slow the flare without the infrastructure in place, the company will need to choke back the production on the well. It can not flare so heavily if it is only producing a couple hundred barrels a month vs. several thousand. Problem solved. Now, boom goes the boom. Extraction tax revenue? Sales tax revenue? Bet the road and housing problem is cured.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Your reference to “slip and fall” lawyers has no relevance in the lawsuit under discussion. This is not a slip and fall case. If the producers are flaring gas in violation of the law, then they must pay royalties and taxes on the flared gas as required by law. Why shouldn’t the producers/operators follow the law? Why shouldn’t violations of the law be a concern to all of us?

      • 2hotel9

        Would you be happier with the term “scab-kneed ambulance chasers”?

        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          I’m not happy with divide and conquer tactics and the fools that fall prey to the tactics. The use of ad hominems is divisive. So long as the little people are throwing insults back and forth (blue is bad; no! red is bad), the great and mighty OZ doesn’t have to worry about them looking behind the curtain.

          • 2hotel9

            “scab-kneed ambulance chasers” is not an insult, it is merely an accurate description of the class of lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits in the hopes of gaining an out of court settlement and screwing over all other involved parties. If lawyers don’t want to be called, accurately, scab-kneed ambulance chasers or slip&fall con artist, then they should stop doing the immoral activities which earn them these titles.

            So far as I have been able to ascertain from what is publicly available, neither parties in this issue, lease holders or the State of North Dakota have been wronged in any of this. They are both being paid, and paid handsomely, by the oil/gas developers. These scab-kneed ambulance chasers are simply trying to use the court system to steal from the lease holders, oil/gas developers AND the State of North Dakota.

            Lawyer is as lawyer does, and they have collectively earned the derision and hatred heaped upon them by the citizens of America.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            2hotel9: Your diatribe laced with ad hominen attacks doesn’t support your opinion that no one has been wronged. If someone owes you money and only pays part of what is owed, perhaps you will forgive the debt. After all, according to you, if you hire an attorney to collect what you are owed, that would be stealing. You live in a fascinating world of make believe.

          • 2hotel9

            You signed a bad lease deal. We get that. Now you are joining in with these scab-kneed ambulance chasers hoping you will get a piece of their action. We get that, too.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Is that all you have? No facts, no law, just mealy-mouthed crap that doesn’t support your theory? When the oil industry opens the barn doors to let the horses run, I have to wonder why the crippled ones come limping out.

            In other words, shouldn’t we all be on the same page? shouldn’t we stop bickering among ourselves, throwing out “lame” accusations, and falling victim to divide and conquer tactics? shouldn’t we take off our blinders? shouldn’t we be looking behind the curtain?

          • 2hotel9

            You are the one who explained to us that you signed a lease deal and don’t like what you are being paid. Next time read it before signing it.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You must be a Colbert disciple. No evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Poor little lame and blind horse, cling to your “truthiness” because you have nothing else. Oh, except maybe you have Turrets syndrome.

          • 2hotel9

            No, stupid, I don’t like turrets, they don’t rotate fast enough to bring the main weapon to the target. And as I already ‘splained to you, you are the one getting your ‘News” from stewtard and coalbert.

          • ellinas1

            Shhhh! Be quiet, coward.

          • 2hotel9

            I order you to sh*t and you do it. Do it again, ec*nt. I order you to.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Oh, don’t be mean to the little guy. He loves to play in his backyard and pretend that his daddy’s barbeque grill is an oil and gas well. In his make-believe world, he’s afraid of monsters, which he described as the “mental midgets” in the government who are trying to punish him for flaring his gas. ROFL He’s an imaginative little munchkin.

          • ellinas1

            This little cowardly con(servative), watches too many violent movies,
            In the past, I have told him to calm down before he tears his nylons.
            He is nothing but a couch revolutionary.

          • 2hotel9

            Ah, poor ec*nt, still no prove. Why is that?

          • ellinas1

            Heheheh!
            Cowardly nut.

          • 2hotel9

            Another day and you obey my order. Prove to everyone you have lost, yet again, by posting another comment. I order you to.

          • ellinas1

            Heheheh!
            You are a deranged alcoholic cowardly nut.

          • 2hotel9

            And you crawl on your knees and obey my every command. Go ahead, prove it again. Post another comment. I order you to.

          • ellinas1

            You order me? You?
            Brhahahahah! Heheheheh!

          • 2hotel9

            And yet you can’t stop yourself. I command and you obey. Do it again. I order you to.

          • ellinas1

            Heheheh!
            You are a deranged alcoholic cowardly nut.

          • 2hotel9

            You can not stop yourself from obeying my commands. Do it again.

          • ellinas1

            Go play with Lenard, your new-found friend, deranged coward.

          • 2hotel9

            Now you call yourself lenard. OK, whatever floats your boat, honey.

          • ellinas1

            Ya flamin’ homo, you.
            Calling other men “sweety” and “honey”.

          • 2hotel9

            You pretending you are a man again, and spewing your hatred for gays, all in one comment. That is yet more proof that you are a mental retard. Now prove it again, sweety. post another comment. I order you to.

          • LenYol

            Watching you two “rope suckers” go at it is hilarious. Brahahahaha. You deserve each other!!!!!!!

          • 2hotel9

            You and your buddy ec*nt are hilarious.

          • LenYol

            Can’t you come up with anything original, or do you just prefer to stay drunk all day?

          • ellinas1

            He is all yours.
            Enjoy him.

          • 2hotel9

            Ah, I see you are enjoying each other quite a bit. And still no proof of any of your sh*t spew, either. Hmmmm, it is kinda sick, the way you slavishly obey my commands, and lenni is following in your slime trail. Peas in a puke pile, how cute.

          • 2hotel9

            Poor little lenni, too stupid to think, and too stupid to think, just plain stupid.

          • LenYol

            And once again you make it obvious you prefer staying in the haze of your alcohol addiction. You’re pathetic, no wonder your wife cheats on you. Now make another comment that demonstrates how ignorant you are. Brahahahaha!!!

          • 2hotel9

            Poor little lenni, you keep proving you are incapable of producing a single, original thought. Tiny minds are a terrible thing to have, and you got it bad.

          • LenYol

            Thanks for demonstrating your ignorance, again. Now, do it again before you’re too drunk to type.

          • 2hotel9

            Still no original thoughts, just a continuation of parroting what ec*nt tells you to type. Rather sad and pathetic.

          • LenYol

            You’re a very obedient little serf. I knew I could count on you. Now make another comment to demonstrate how obedient you really are.
            Speaking of being original…do you think you could come up with a different word other than c*nt. It’s not very original, unless you’re referring to what you’re married to.

            You better get to work, it’s your turn to scrub the floors and toilets, again.
            Brahahahahaha!!!!

          • 2hotel9

            Your lack of originality is rather telling as an indication of your mental incapacity. Surely rooted in your failed public education. As for c*nt, it is a correct descriptive of the political left and its adherents. Too bad you are too stupid to ascend to that “appellation”.

          • LenYol

            As my little alcoholic, obedient serf, your compliance with my request is duly noted. Now, before you comment again and demonstrate your low level intelligence and obedience, make sure the toilets are clean. As for the c*nt, say hi to your wife for me. She’ll know who it is.

          • ellinas1

            Now you know what it feels like to interact with con(servative) cowardly nuts.
            He is a tea partier to boot.
            Enjoy him.

          • two_amber_lamps

            Good morning Ellinas… did you have a nice walk thru the capitol?

            http://www.theonion.com/articles/nations-pedophiles-march-on-washington-dc-elementa,34362/

          • ellinas1

            Good dogy. Here’s your treat

          • 2hotel9

            I see you have found a fellow racist to share your time with, and still have no proof of any of the sh*t you spew, all while obeying my every command. Show everyone you have lost, yet again. I order you to.

          • ellinas1

            As my little alcoholic, obedient serf, your compliance with my request
            is duly noted. Now, before you comment again and demonstrate your low
            level intelligence and obedience, make sure the toilets are clean. As
            for the c*nt, say hi to your wife for me. She’ll know who it is.

          • 2hotel9

            And yet you are the one crying about a bad lease you signed. Aren’t you special. for a mental midget, that is.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You’re up early this morning little one. Have a nice day in school.

          • 2hotel9

            Glad to see you admitting you have lost. Have a nice day not getting paid.

  • 2hotel9

    Capturing and using this gas will come along shortly, after the oil companies pay off EPA and Dept Interior underlings. Its all about the baksheesh, don’t ya know.

    Seriously, with the glut of gas on the market flaring will continue, cost is the driving factor. And this is an opportunity for enterprising Americans! LP gas is a big seller, grills being a major user of it, heating and cooking in homes and in RVs takes a lot, too. Converting vehicles to LP will pick up, also, with the ready availability and low cost to drive it. It appears this and other lawsuits are intended to stifle this growing market, not to protect people leasing their land and mineral rights. The only people complaining about this are the ones NOT being paid from oil/gas production.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Well, seriously, wasting gas is prohibited by North Dakota law. If the flaring is conducted in violation of the law, then the producers must pay royalties and taxes on the flared gas as required by North Dakota law.

      • 2hotel9

        Which they are. The only people not being paid are the ones who have no mineral rights upon which to get a drilling/production lease, and the state is getting the taxes it wants. This comes down to just another frivolous lawsuit.

        And who, exactly, makes the determination that gas is being wasted? Could that “person” decide that using gas in barbecue grills is a waste and demand people pay fines for it? This seems quite nebulous and open ended and rife for abuse.

        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          You responded with conclusions that have no factual support. If the producers had paid royalties and taxes on the gas that was flared in violation of the law, then there would be no basis for a lawsuit.

          For every well that is drilled, title records are examined to determine the identities of all persons who are entitled to a share of the oil and gas production from the well. The people who own the rights to royalties are the people who are NOT being paid. This nonpayment of royalties is a violation of the law. These people are entitled to enforce their statutory right to royalties. Because the claim has both factual and legal support, the claim for unpaid royalties is not a frivolous lawsuit.

          The control of oil and gas is governed by NDCC Chapter 38-08, which must be construed in a matter consistent with our state and federal constitutions. There is a specific statute that governs the flaring of gas from a WELL. NDCC Chapter 38-08 does not govern your “flaring” of gas from your barbecue grill. You have entered into the land of the absurd.

          • 2hotel9

            From all I can find North Dakota is not the one pursuing this lawsuit. As for the land of the absurd, mental midgets in government are quite adept at twisting regulations and laws to suit their desires and inflict harm on citizens simply living their lives.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Mineral owners are pursuing their statutory right to royalties. Your fear that the “mental midgets in the government” will confuse your barbeque grill for an oil and gas well is not relevant to the discussion.

          • 2hotel9

            Don’t see that at all. All that is clear is a pack of scab-kneed ambulance chasers running a scam to get themselves a paid day. And you are all for it. What percentage are you looking to score?

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You don’t see? Perhaps you should take off your blinders. After all, you’re not a horse pulling the oil industry’s carriage. Well, on second thought . . . .

          • 2hotel9

            Next time read the lease before you sign it.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You must be a Colbert disciple. No evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Poor little lame and blind horse, cling to your “truthiness” because you have nothing else.

          • 2hotel9

            No, sweety, you are the one who gets your “news” from coalbert and stewretard and cnn.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Is this your version of “neener-neener”? You keep getting cuter and cuter, sweety!

          • 2hotel9

            Honey, you are the one attempting to use the courts to steal from others. Very cute, indeed.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You’re misusing your words again. A barbeque grill is not an oil and gas well. Claiming what is owed is not stealing. Next time, we’ll work on your ABC’s. Hope you have a nice evening and fill your plastic pumpkin with lots of treats!

          • 2hotel9

            And yet you are the one attempting to use the courts to steal for you.

          • 2hotel9

            Oh, and again, stupid. Next time READ the LEASE before you SIGN IT, STUPID.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Oh, how cute. I didn’t realize that first graders were posting on this board, but I’ll play along with the little munchkin: “I’m rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”

          • 2hotel9

            You signed what you consider, now, a bad lease deal and you want the courts to steal from others and give to you. How is that Obamacare working out for you, sweety?

  • 2hotel9

    Oh, and Rob? Thats a cool pic. Once the snow is on it will be even better.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Is this truly a matter of left-wing vs. right-wing? Is this really a matter of the gosh darn liberals ruining crap for the rest of us? Divide and conquer politics? are the Republicans/Conservatives looking to place the blame on the Democrats/Liberals as part of the oil industry’s pre-ordained exit strategy? We know that our public officials–most of whom have an “R” behind their name–are responsible for the creation of super-sized units that cannot possibly be drained by a single well, yet are “held by production” from a single well.

    Isn’t it true that the oil companies have been preparing us for their exodus from the state as soon as they have secured all the acreage underlaid by the Bakken and Three Forks Pools? (There has been a ton of foreshadowing, but you may have missed the message if you were sleeping.) What will these companies say as they leave? Could it be: “Ah shucks, folks, thanks for all your regulatory kindness that gave us control over 15,000 square miles of your fine state. We will now mosey along and bundle up our leases and sell them for an enormous profit, and maybe someday those thousands and thousands of wells that need to be drilled to actually develop those acres and all the pools thereunder might be drilled…maybe. Furthermore, when we leave and take our rigs with us to secure our leases elsewhere, we would like to place the blame on the folks who have a ‘D’ behind their names. That way, our GOP benefactors won’t have to take too much heat….”

    • Sue

      True. They were easily given many zones. They are now issued overlapping units. They ask and ta da. Except….extraction tax. We are not the Chinese. Now another excuse to do what they want to do anyway. Leave and take their marbles with them.
      This lawsuit does actually encompass the current law. Our contracts can not circumvent the laws. A handful of mineral owners have sued to have the laws followed. These companies do not follow the rules, regulations and laws willingly in the arena of the mineral owner. They did not like the pugh clause in our contracts and the Commission wrote a new rule for them.
      The oil and GAS commission can not call the gas a byproduct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.street.3910 Tim Chisolm

    Ive done some work in the Bakken oil fields and the company has one year to legally flare the gas then after one year, they must install some type of recovery system.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      The operator/producer of the well may only flare gas during the first year under the rules established by the Commission. If the operator is violating the rules, the operator/producer must pay royalties on the flared gas.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      The rules and orders of the Commission restrict oil production during the time the well remains unconnected to a gas gathering and processing facility as follows:

      “All wells in the _____-Bakken Pool shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate for a period of 60 days commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 200 barrels per day for a period of 60 days; after that, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 150 barrels per day for a period of 60 days, thereafter, oil production from such wells shall not exceed an average of 100 barrels of oil per day; if and when such wells are connected to a gas gathering and processing facility the foregoing restrictions shall be removed, and the wells shall be allowed to produce at a maximum efficient rate. The Director is authorized to issue an administrative order allowing unrestricted production at a maximum efficient rate for a period not to exceed 120 days, commencing on the first day oil is produced through well-head equipment into tanks from the ultimate producing interval after casing has been run, if the necessity therefor can be demonstrated to his satisfaction.”

      Here is the statutory law:
      38-08-06.4. Flaring of gas restricted – Imposition of tax – Payment of royalties -Industrial commission authority.

      1. AS PERMITTED UNDER RULES OF THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION, gas produced with crude oil from an oil well may be flared during a one-year period from the date of first production from the well.

      2. After the time period in subsection 1, FLARING OF GAS FROM THE WELL MUST CEASE and the well must be:

      a. Capped;

      b. Connected to a gas gathering line;

      c. Equipped with an electrical generator that consumes at least seventy-five percent of the gas from the well;

      d. Equipped with a system that intakes at least seventy-five percent of the gas and natural gas liquids volume from the well for beneficial consumption by means of compression to liquid for use as fuel, transport to a processing facility, production of petrochemicals or fertilizer, conversion to liquid fuels, separating and collecting over fifty percent of the propane and heavier hydrocarbons; or

      e. Equipped with other value-added processes as approved by the industrial commission which reduce the volume or intensity of the flare by more than sixty percent.

      3. An electrical generator and its attachment units to produce electricity from gas and a collection system described in subdivision d of subsection 2 must be considered to be personal property for all purposes.

      4. FOR A WELL OPERATED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, THE PRODUCER SHALL PAY ROYALTIES to royalty owners upon the value of the flared gas and shall also pay gross production tax on the flared gas at the rate imposed under section 57-51-02.2.

  • JoeMN

    Part of the problem is market demand for natural gas

    Perhaps the real beef mineral rights owners have is with the environmental left.

    http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/ohio-utica-shale-1.291290/eco-groups-unhappy-with-doe-exporting-plan-for-lng-1.367840

    The coalition’s comments emphasize that liquefied natural gas (LNG)
    exports would lower wages and employment in the U.S., while enriching
    energy companies by billions of dollars, including their overseas
    investors
    ( And mineral rights owners)

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Yeah. That’s it. The producers are violating the law and failing to pay royalties and taxes on flared gas. What can we do to distract attention away from the producers violations of the law? I know: Let’s blame the environmental left. :)

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