ND regulators approve pipeline upgrade, new gas plant

ND regulators approve pipeline upgrade, new gas plant

By Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK—Two major oil and gas projects approved Wednesday by the North Dakota Public Service Commission aim to improve pipeline safety, meet local demand for diesel and reduce natural gas flaring in the state.

Commissioners approved a project from Cenex Pipeline LLC that will upgrade a portion of a refined fuels pipeline in northwest North Dakota that was built in 1960. However, the company does not have easement agreements to begin construction along 22 percent of the pipeline route.

Also Wednesday, commissioners approved the Arrow Bear Den gas plant near Watford City to process growing volumes of natural gas in the core of the Bakken.

Commission Chairman Randy Christmann said the two projects combined total more than $250 million in economic activity for the state.

CONTINUE READING

Christmann seeks re-election to Public Service Commission

Christmann seeks re-election to Public Service Commission

AMY DALRYMPLE, Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota Public Service Commission Chairman Randy Christmann announced Thursday he is seeking re-election.

Christmann, a Republican, was elected to the commission in 2012 and is seeking a second six-year term.

He said he wants to continue serving the public by ensuring reliable and affordable utility rates, overseeing safety and land reclamation programs and balancing energy development with protecting natural resources.

The three-member commission oversees electric and gas utilities, energy plant and transmission sitings, coal mine reclamation, pipeline safety, grain elevators and other areas.

“It is vitally important that the commission retain a balanced approach to regulation of the industries we oversee,” Christmann said.

CONTINUE READING

N.D. Public Service Commissioner Christmann Seeking Re-election

N.D. Public Service Commissioner Christmann Seeking Re-election

Randy Christmann, today, announced he would be seeking re-election to the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC). He has served as a PSC Commissioner since 2012 and is currently its chairperson.

“I have been honored to represent the people of North Dakota as their Public Service Commissioner,” said Christmann. “And I am gratified by the trust the voters have placed in me to serve the public interest.”

Christmann said, “For the PSC, “serving the public” is defined by ensuring consumers get reliable and affordable utility rates, that our state’s commercial measuring devices are accurate, that our state’s safety programs are well-executed and truly protect people, that mine and wind farm land is reclaimed in a manner that restores productivity and beauty, that property owners are treated with respect and dignity, that our state’s natural resources are developed responsibly to enhance our state’s economic needs and America’s energy independence, and that we conduct the business of the PSC within the letter of the law and our state constitution.”

“I am proud of our record of success,” continued Christmann. “During my time as commissioner, North Dakotans have enjoyed some of the lowest utility rates in the nation. Our mine and wind farm reclamation programs are a model for the rest of the nation. And our state has seen over $8 billion in new energy development infrastructure sited and approved by the commission.”

In conclusion, Christmann said, “It is vitally important that the commission retain a balanced approach to regulation of the industries we oversee. We can and will protect the environment and responsibly develop North Dakota’s God-given resources for the benefit of its citizens.”

Prior to the PSC, Christmann served in the North Dakota Senate representing District 33 for 18 years. He and his wife, Bethanie, own a cattle ranch west of Hazen, ND. Christmann is a veteran of the N.D. National Guard and a graduate of NDSU, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He is a member of the N.D. Lignite Research Council, the N.D. Stockmen’s Association, N.D. Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association and a former Director of the N.D. Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives.

###

PSC Approves Rule Changes Related to Wind Projects

PSC Approves Rule Changes Related to Wind Projects

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved two sets of rule changes that impact wind farm lighting and future decommissioning at the end of their use.  

“A half century ago our ancestors made a commitment to ensure that our coal mines would be reclaimed when the prairie became quiet again,” said Commission Chairman Randy Christmann. “These new rules demonstrate a renewed commitment by our generation to ensure that North Dakota’s beautiful landscape will be returned to its splendor when these giant wind turbines reach the end of their usefulness.” 

One of rule change packages addresses decommissioning and ensures that wind turbines are removed and the land reclaimed when taken out of service. This rule package seeks to assure that money is available for decommissioning and reclamation and enhances the decommissioning requirements for future projects.  The PSC has been responsible for North Dakota’s coal mine reclamation program since 1970 and used that as a basis for these new rules.

The other rule change package addresses wind tower lighting. They allow preference to be given to wind energy projects that commit to installing light mitigation technology to offset the continuously blinking red lights. The new technology would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.  

The rule changes still need to be examined by the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee before final approval.

PSC Approves Siting Permit for Wild Basin Gas Plant

PSC Approves Siting Permit for Wild Basin Gas Plant

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved a siting permit for the Wild Basin Gas Plant six miles northeast of Watford City in McKenzie County. 

Oasis Midstream Services LLC operates their current Wild Basin Gas Plant and Crude Handling Facility which is now able to process 80 million standard cubic feet per day of gas and stabilize up to 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Oasis sought a permit to increase the capacity of the facility to process 280 million standard cubic feet per day of gas, stabilize up to 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day and add an additional 150,000 barrel crude oil storage tank. The expansion brings the facility above the threshold requiring Public Service Commission siting approval. 

“This gas is a by-product of the oil industry. It will either be wasted by flaring it into the atmosphere or it will be processed into a usable, value-added product,” said Commission Chairman Randy Christmann.  “This processing plant is one of the biggest steps ever taken in North Dakota to decrease flaring and increase revenues for mineral owners, producers and taxing authorities.”

Estimated cost of the entire expansion project is $150 million.

Administrative Rules Committee Completes Review of Rule Changes Related to Wind Projects

Administrative Rules Committee Completes Review of Rule Changes Related to Wind Projects

The Administrative Rules Committee of the ND Legislature has finished their review of two sets of rule packages for future wind projects and ensure they are removed and reclaimed when no longer useful. The rules become effective July 1, 2017.

“A half century ago our ancestors made a commitment to ensure that our coal mines would be reclaimed when the prairie became quiet again,” said Commission Chairman Randy Christmann.  “These new rules demonstrate a renewed commitment by our generation to ensure that North Dakota’s beautiful landscape will be returned to its splendor when these giant wind turbines reach the end of their usefulness.” 

The rule changes were approved by the PSC in early May and sent to the Administrative Rules Committee for final review.