BLM completes EA for proposed exploration in North Dakota

The US Bureau of Land Management has completed an environmental assessment of Slawson Exploration Co.’s proposed oil and gas exploration project near Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

The US Bureau of Land Management has completed an environmental assessment of Slawson Exploration Co.’s proposed oil and gas exploration project near Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

BLM’s North Dakota field office in Dickinson also approved a permit for the Wichita, Kan.-based producer to drill the first 8 of 11 wells from a single well pad in a Mar. 10 record of decision (ROD).

The well pad will be 800 ft from the lake, with production facilities ¾ mile away. BLM noted that while these facilities will be on private land, it was required to issue a drilling permit because the federally managed leases will be reached with horizontal drilling.

The Bakken-Three Forks formation area has about 446 federal, tribal, and allotted leases already in existence under Lake Sakakawea, BLM said.

Slawson was awarded its leases in late 2008 and early 2009. It submitted its drilling permit application in 2011, which BLM said triggered engagement with the public and the Three Affiliated Tribes: the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations.

As it developed the EA, BLM said it worked with the applicant to develop appropriate mitigation measures and best management practices that address concerns with the proposed development, which are part of the ROD. The decision requires Slawson to obtain any other necessary federal, state, and local permits and approvals prior to beginning development, BLM said.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission estimates the operation will add about 220 new jobs in the state, BLM said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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