Tribal Chairman Talks Oil Investments and Development
Bismarck, ND -
Oil coming out of the ground in the Fort Berthold Reservation accounts for 2% of the production in all of the U.S.
And that number is expected to grow...
About 1400 oil and gas employees and leaders from the Three Affiliated Tribes are at a Tero seminar in Bismarck learning what the development means for them.
"In 2007 the first well was drilled near Parshall. It meant game on. We were sitting on this bakken reserve," says Chairman Tex Hall.
Today 20% of the state's oil comes from within the reservation.
850 wells are producing 175,000 barrels of oil a day.
Chairman Tex Hall says he expect 3,000 wells to be producing 300,000 barrels in the next six years.
The increasing predictions have the tribe looking to expand the refinery they just broke ground on this month.
" We will need a bigger refinery, so look at getting bigger refinery. Doesn't make sense to ship it down the road. There will be less of a footprint to refine it here. We already have a 20,000 barrel facility, it just has to be bigger," says Hall.
The refinery is the first ever tribal refinery to be built in America.
The facility near Makoti is set to be producing fuel in 2015.
In addition, construction has started on a trans loading facility to ship oil on the reservation by train.
Those are only a couple of the investments being made due to the oil activity.
Hall says, "the tribal council passed 2014 budget. New apartment complex in Newtown and one at Four Bears. In addition putting $10 million into tribal housing department. Several million dollars will be added and it will be that way for the next 3-4 years."
But the Three affiliated tribes are also saving and sharing the oil revenues...
Hall says, "we put together a $200 million trust fund and we have a tribal trust fund that's at 50 million now, that will be for tribal projects like to build a hotel and apartments. And we will keep adding to it."
Hall says of the 13,250 tribal members only 4500 landowners directly benefit from the oil activity on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
Hall says his main concern is the time it takes for oil companies to get permits to drill on tribal land.
He says the shutdown was detrimental to activity and many rigs threatened to move into Montana.
Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven have been working with the BLM and BIA to improve the permitting process.
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