Commission OKs rule changes for oil industry

BISMARCK The North Dakota Industrial Commission on Thursday approved rule changes that increase pipeline regulations and reporting requirements, and provide surface owner protections regarding tanks and flare stacks.

The rule changes also establish a process for obtaining tax incentives to encourage operators to reducing flaring.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, commission chair, said the changes include regulations on gathering lines that were not previously included in pipeline rules.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the proposed rules will require operators to submit data to the Industrial Commission to track construction and reclamation of pipelines, and also track pipeline locations for surface owners.

“One of the significant legislative changes passed earlier this year is an increase in the dollars to be made available in the abandoned well and site reclamation fund,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Thanks to oil and gas tax revenues, there will now be more funding available for reclamation if no responsible party can be found to reclaim the land.”

Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources’ Oil and Gas Division considered the rule changes made in 2009-11 biennium to be some of the most significant in state history. “We believe these changes go beyond that level of importance,” he said.

After review by the Attorney General’s office, the proposed rules will go the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee for approval. Once finalized, the rules are expected to take effect April 1, 2014.

The proposed rules and full notice can be found on the Department of Mineral Resource’s homepage at (www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas).