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Discussion of oil and gas development in Divide, McKenzie and Bowman counties (2/25/2013)

Over 300 people came out to hear what NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Associate Professor David Saxowsky, and Extension Agents Keith Brown, Calli Thorne, Marcia Hellandsaas and Andrea Bowman (and other professionals) had to say about the multitude of changes going on in Divide, McKenzie and Bowman counties due to the oil industry.  The primary focus of the meetings held Feb. 11 at Crosby, Feb. 12 at Watford City and Feb.13 at Bowman was oil and gas development from the perspective of mineral and land owners, however, mineral leasing, pipeline easements, surface damages, industry technologies, future county oil and gas projects, and other topics were also discussed. Dale Enerson, cooperatives specialist with the North Dakota Farmers Union, gave an update on western North Dakota oil field operations. The Bowman session was one component of their Southwest Ag Forum.

Compensating surface owners for disruption to land resources and farm/ranch operations based on the North Dakota surface compensation statutes was also touched on, and it was hoped that more time could be spent on issues relating to pipeline easements—a critical topic for Divide and McKenzie counties. Another session is being considered for this spring. 

Participants gained a better understanding of considerations when leasing mineral rights or negotiating easements; the laws and statutes in North Dakota that govern oil and gas development, and options available if parties think they are not being treated fairly. They also learned about changes that have been made in the laws and statutes by the North Dakota legislature to address concerns such as surface owner rights and compensation, and why there are limitations to what the legislature can do.

A two-part video of the presentations given at Watford City is available on the McKenzie County Extension Office website.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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