Tag Archives: Montana

Bakken Oil Production Hits 1 Billion Barrels

Bakken Oil ProductionCumulative Bakken oil production has reached one billion barrels, according to recently released data.

The data, by IHS, a global information company, revealed that the Bakken oil field found in North Dakota and Montana reached the one-billion-barrel milestone of light, sweet crude oil during the first quarter of 2014.

Much of the oil taken from the Bakken play has been produced recently. In fact, two-thirds of the cumulative Bakken oil production was reached in the last three years, according to Jack Stark, the senior vice president of exploration for Continental Resources, the largest leaseholder and producer in the Bakken oil shale region.

“This milestone validates the immense potential of the Bakken field and development is just beginning,” Stark said in a news release.

The Bakken oil field appears to be the largest oil field discovered in the world in the last 40 years. The discovery and production of oil fields like the Bakken has been driven in many respects by the emergence of horizontal drilling technology.

“As a result, the need for pipeline protection has never been greater,” said Chris Sheldon, utilities practice lead for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and corrosion engineering services for oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure industries.

“With all of the horizontal drilling and the massive production coming from plays like the Bakken oil field, pipeline integrity management has never been more important,” Sheldon said. “These pipelines represent a huge investment by producers, who need to protect that investment from corrosion.”

“Oil producers in the Bakken oil field and plays all over the world look to MATCOR to provide the best-in-class cathodic protection and corrosion engineering to secure all their pipeline investments for years to come,” Sheldon said.

Bakken Field Produces First Billion Barrels of Oil,” press release, April 28, 2014.


MATCOR is a full-service, ISO 9001:2008 certified provider of customized cathodic protection systems to the oil & gas, power, water/wastewater, and other infrastructures industries. Cathodic protection is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface through the application of electric current. MATCOR has an array of proprietary cathodic protection products and systems combined with high-quality corrosion engineering, installation and maintenance services.

In business for almost 40 years, MATCOR is considered the technology leader in cathodic protection and corrosion engineering. MATCOR is headquartered in Chalfont, PA, has a service office in Houston, TX, provides turnkey services throughout the United States and has a growing list of international distributors. MATCOR has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

U.S. Senate OKs continuation of Glacier natural gas pipeline

The U.S. Senate is giving its approval to a bill that ensures an aging pipeline will be able to continue operating as it passes through Glacier National Park.

The pipeline was first built by Montana Power in 1962 to provide natural gas from east of the Continental Divide to the Flathead Valley.

The line passes through a portion of the park and was initially constructed under a special use permit. However, in 1990 the Park Service decided it didn’t have the authority to issue new permits for the gas line.

That threatened the operation of the 118-mile line and gas supplied to 25,000 customers in the Kalispell area.

But under the provision of the bill co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, the Park Service is given the authority to issue a permit to Northwestern Energy so it can provide regular maintenance on the pipeline.

“This bill cuts through red tape to keep Kalispell homes heated while protecting one of the most beautiful places on Earth,” Tester said. “Responsible maintenance of the pipeline will prevent accidents and help keep Glacier National Park the ‘Crown of the Continent.'”

SOURCE: http://www.ktvq.com/news/u-s-senate-oks-continuation-of-glacier-natural-gas-pipeline/

Montana governor reviewing oil, gas pipeline safety

Earlier this week Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer  said authorities will review safety of all oil and gas pipelines that cross waterways in the state and close those that did not meet standards.

“We’ll make the decision over the next couple of days whether to shut off some pipelines,” Schweitzer told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The last thing I want is for another pipeline to break.”

Schweitzer said he made the move after a spill early Saturday from an Exxon Mobil pipeline released into the rain-swollen Yellowstone River near Billings up to 1,000 barrels of oil, or 42,000 gallons.

Schweitzer said the pipeline inspections — the second round he has called for in as many months — will assess the risk of ruptures and leaks in 88 sections of pipeline that cross rivers and streams in the state.

The review will gauge factors including the pipelines’ age, thickness and corrosion, and the condition and operation of all shut-off valves.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) said on Monday that the spill appeared to be concentrated within a 15-mile stretch of the river between Billings and the nearby town of Laurel, although Tim Thennis, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services duty officer, said he had received reports of oil near the community of Hysham, about 75 miles downstream from Billings.

Gary Pruessing, the president of the company’s pipeline unit, said Exxon still did not know the cause of the leak that spilled oil into the river and added that it may change the way it conducts pipeline safety reviews.

“This will give us additional information to think about when we consider doing risk assessments on any line that has a river crossing anywhere in the country,” Pruessing said during a news conference in Laurel, Montana.

By Monday afternoon, Exxon had received 71 calls from nearby residents asking questions or reporting damage from the spill.


The spill came just weeks after the company shut down the pipeline in May after the city of Laurel had safety concerns due to the rising levels of the river from rain and runoff.

“At the time we shut down the line … and went down and did a further risk assessment to make sure the site, based on technical knowledge we had, was something we’d feel comfortable to run,” Pruessing said. “We restarted the line feeling like we had a safe operation.”

The U.S. pipeline safety regulator weighed in on the spill on Monday, saying it had warned the company about problems with the pipeline and had begun its own investigation.

“Inspectors are on site and have initiated an investigation into the cause of failure,” said a spokeswoman with the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

After inspecting the pipeline in July 2009, PHMSA issued a warning letter to Exxon a year later about oil leaking from some of the valves on the pipeline.

The agency said the valves did not have a means for clearly indicating whether they were open or closed. “There was fresh crude oil on the soil immediately adjacent to the valves,” PHMSA said in its warning letter.

It also faulted Exxon for not following up in a timely manner on atmospheric corrosion issues that were identified during three years of corrosion surveys on the pipeline.


As Exxon fielded a team of 200 workers to mop up oil using absorbent booms and pads, the first reports on Monday came in of a resident downstream on the Yellowstone River sickened by the spill.

Mike Scott, co-owner of a goat ranch inundated by the rupture, said his wife, Alexis Bonogofsky, was briefly hospitalized Monday after suffering from what doctors diagnosed as acute hydrocarbon exposure, a condition linked to exposure to petroleum chemicals.

“She started getting shortness of breath, dizziness; we took her to the hospital and they took an X-ray,” said Scott, who also works for the Sierra Club, an environmental group.

Medical staff declined to discuss the diagnosis, citing patient confidentiality.

The Yellowstone River, the longest undammed river in the United States, is renowned for its trout fishing and bird life.

A team of six experts from International Bird Rescue began arriving in Montana on Sunday to work with state and federal wildlife agencies to coordinate the rescue and rehabilitation of birds tarred by the spill.

“There is definitely concern, there is a wonderful riparian habitat there,” said Amy Cilimburg of the Montana Audubon Society.