XTO settles CAA charges at Fort Berthold Reservation operations

March 27, 2018
XTO Energy Inc. agreed to upgrade operations and undertake new projects at its oil and gas production operations at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota in a proposed settlement of charges that it violated the federal Clean Air Act, the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced on Mar. 26.  

XTO Energy Inc. agreed to upgrade operations and undertake new projects at its oil and gas production operations at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota in a proposed settlement of charges that it violated the federal Clean Air Act, the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced on Mar. 26.

They said the proposed settlement resolved claims that the ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary did not adequately design, operate, and maintain vapor-control systems on its storage tanks at its 20 oil and gas well pads, resulting in emissions of volatile organic compounds.

XTO agreed to ensure its vapor-control systems at the wells are adequate and improve operation and maintenance practices, monitoring, and inspections, including use of infrared cameras during monthly inspections to better detect and respond to air emissions, the federal entities said.

The producer also agreed to pay a $320,000 fine and spend at least $450,000 to install and operate auto-gauging equipment on storage tanks to reduce how often thief hatches are opened as an environmental mitigation project, DOJ and EPA said.

EPA estimated that XTO’s system upgrades would reduce the emission of at least 2,200 tons/year of VOCs. Improved operation and maintenance will result in additional emissions reductions, it said.

The case arose from the agency’s inspections and information requests in 2015 that found related VOC emissions violations at produced oil and produced water storage tanks, due to undersized vapor control systems and inadequate operation and maintenance, EPA said.

The proposed consent decree in US District Court for North Dakota is subject to a 30-day comment period and final approval by the court.

Contact Nick Snow at [email protected].