Serving The Bakken And Beyond

Ness Praises Interior Secretary Effort To Rescind BLM Rule

Efforts by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to rescind a last-minute regulation by the Obama administration, which imposed pages of venting and flaring regulations on oil and gas producers, was lauded by Ron Ness, president of the ND Petroleum Council.

Ron Ness, ND Petroleum Council

“The oil and gas industry is fully supportive of capturing more natural gas, but this rule targeted North Dakota and the Bakken with a duplicative, burdensome, and costly paperwork that provided zero net benefit beyond what the state had already implemented a year or two prior,” Ness said. “As a result, the 2016 rule is not preventing waste—it is enabling it.”

North Dakota officials have argued in the past that state regulations already cover flaring, and that additional federal rules are not necessary.

Ness pointed out that since the BLM rule was adopted in November 2016, statewide flaring in North Dakota increased by 4%, 7% on tribal lands at Fort Berthold, and even higher at 9% on trust lands managed by the federal government.

“Clearly, these rules have been ineffective at preventing waste as intended,” Ness said.

The regulations have also placed extra work on the BLM staff, which should be focused on approving rights-of-way for pipelines and gas plants. Those facilities are the only effective way to capture natural gas, he added.