North Dakota has tremendous oil reserves and companies are anxious to break out their downhole jet pumps to get at these resources: there are currently over 500 permits awaiting approval. In order to alleviate this backlog, which is both halting production and the attendant jobs and revenue, U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp have sponsored the passage of the Bureau of Land Management Streamlining Act, which will serve to clear out the log jam and increase efficiency.
North Dakota is among the nation's best in oil production: between the Three Forks and Bakken shales, there are an estimated 7.3 billion barrels of oil. With that kind of potential volume, the state simply didn't have the means to swiftly handle all of the permits that have been coming in. Under this new law, managing that process will be much more streamlined.
The initiative authorizes an office in neighboring Montana to help uncork the bottleneck, which will allow for better coordination with the western part of the state. As North Dakota is about 360 miles across, adding this extra administrative infrastructure will definitely help to speed up the approval of new permits, which in turn is good news for the oil industry at large.
In a statement, Heitkamp detailed the necessity of this new legislation.
"For far too long, the permitting process has been delayed because of a lack of federal resources and coordination in western North Dakota. It has led to excessive waits for drilling permits that unnecessarily slow down projects while also putting the brakes on jobs that would come from those projects," said Heitkamp. "We must continue to make common-sense fixes like this to help North Dakota reach its full energy potential."
With this red tape out of the way, the oil boom in North Dakota could get a little bit louder.