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Top 5 Bakken stories of the week

5. 2014’s Booms, Bans, and Busts no. 7: OPEC

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The 2014 year is on its way out, and Shale Plays Media is taking these last two weeks to recap on numerous major, groundbreaking stories that have impacted the world of oil and gas over the last year. Yesterday,  historical and landmark topics from the past year were highlighted  in an original piece you can view here.

In a continuation of our countdown series for the hottest oil and gas-related topics in 2014, today we’re reviewing the momentous stories that came from regions affiliated with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Read more.

4. DRC and Health Dept. disagree on TENORM

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Nuclear waste barrels

In light of the recent proposed re-evaluation of North Dakota’s waste disposal policies, the Dakota Resource Council (DRC) has requested that the Department of Health further examine the effects that radioactive waste in the state’s landfills would have on citizens.  The Department of Health recently proposed a set of rules that would allow oilfield waste landfills in North Dakota that takes radioactive waste up to 50 picocuries per gram. Currently the limit is 5 picocuries. Today the Dickinson Press reported that the Health Department has denied the Dakota Resource Councils request to further study and further discuss the new rules. Their proposal would schedule six public meetings across the areas affected to discuss radioactive waste disposal. Read more.

3. In North Dakota, countdown looms for $5.3 billion oil tax break

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Zach Koppang/ Shale Plays Media

Tumbling U.S. oil markets hit an important if obscure milestone on Thursday, closing for the first time at a price that could trigger a $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota oil drillers as soon as next summer.

Under a decades-old law, the state at the heart of the U.S. shale oil boom would waive its 6.5 percent oil extraction tax once the average monthly price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude at Cushing, Oklahoma, falls below a certain threshold for five consecutive months. Read more.

2. ND fines company $687,000 for disposal violations

pump jack

North Dakota regulators assessed a $687,000 fine Wednesday against a Utah company for violating saltwater waste disposal rules.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission, a three-member panel that includes Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, approved the sanction against Springville, Utah-based Redemption Energy LLC. The matter now goes to North Dakota District Court for collection. Read more.

1. Oil prices could force over 500 rigs out of service

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Getty Image/ NewsCred

With oil prices nearly slashed in half from earlier 2014 prices, analysts are predicting that up to 550 drilling rigs will remain out of commission over the next few months.

Signs of a slowdown have rolled in quickly since last November when members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to cut any of their oil and gas production. Reuters reported that in Houston, Texas, the first oil industry layoffs have been announced. Also, realtors there are predicting a sharp decline of up to 12 percent in home sales next year. Read more.

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