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Top 5 Bakken stories of the week

5. ND proposes changes in oilfield waste rules

pump jacks

Oil companies may be allowed to dispose of radioactive oilfield waste at some North Dakota landfills instead of hauling it out of state under new rules proposed by the state Health Department.

State regulators said the proposed rules that were publicly announced Friday will help track oilfield waste and come in response to the growing number of illegally tossed filter socks, the tubular nets that strain liquids during the oil production process. Read more.

4. Crime drama about the Bakken coming to Starz

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Starz announced today that it is currently developing a crime drama based around a Dakota boomtown that ‘revolves around oil drilling and fracking.’ The show is going to be called Black Gold and is being described as a ‘modern day western.’ James Ponsoldt will direct the series. Ponsoldt is credited for directing films such as Spectacular Now and Smashed. He has also directed episodes of the TV series Parenthood and Shameless. Read more. 

3. Midwest lawmakers react to ND order to treat crude oil

oil train

Local legislators supported a recent move by North Dakota officials requiring the oil industry to treat crude oil.

North Dakota officials Tuesday ordered the oil industry to reduce volatile gases in Bakken crude oil to make it safer to transport via oil trains. The order by the state Industrial Commission, a three-member board that includes the governor, requires oil companies to use equipment that removes light, potentially explosive hydrocarbons before shipping. It takes effect April 1. Read more.

2. “Williston is what it would look like if Halliburton colonized the moon.”

Pump jack sunset

Photo: Kendell Hunt

The oil boom in western North Dakota has fascinated the nation. A variety of news outlets have done pieces highlighting the economic phenomenon. Today Vox.com released an interesting, descriptive and unbiased picture of the oil boom in North Dakota. Its author, Libby Nelson, poses the question,“what will North Dakota do with its newfound wealth?” Along with this question, Nelson discusses the infrastructure woes of places like Watford City and Williston in an interesting voice. She describes entering Watford City as, “Oil pumps bend rhythmically, like giant praying mantises, in fields full of dead sunflowers and indifferent cattle.” She continues, “Williston is what it would look like if Halliburton tried to colonize the moon.” Read more.

1. And it begins– rig stacking

oil rigs

With oil prices still decreasing, companies in the Permian Basin have begun the process of cold stacking their rigs.

The term “rig stacking” consists of two different methods.  “Cold stacking,” means the releasing or stopped drilling of a rig.  “Warm stacking,” refers to temporarily take a rig off the market.  During “warm stacking” rigs still maintain basic operations and are mostly crewed. Read more.