North Dakota’s Industrial Commission (Commission) has issued an order tightening the conditioning and transportation standards for oil produced in the Bakken Petroleum System (Bakken, Three Forks, and Spanish Pool). Non-compliance with the new standards carry a penalty of up to $12,500 per day of violation.  The order is set to take effect April 1, 2015.

Pursuant to Order No. 25417, operators will be required to separate light hydrocarbons from all Bakken crude to be transported, and are prohibited from blending light hydrocarbons back into oil supplies prior to shipment.  The order also requires operators to condition Bakken Crude to a vapor pressure of 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi) which is less than national standard of 14.7 psi.

Operators face fines up to $12,500 per day of violation . . .

The order was written as “a matter of safety” and is based on the scientific evidence presented to the Commission.  The Commission’s three-member panel approved the new standards after receiving more than 1,200 pages of testimony from dozens of groups and individuals.

According to the Commission’s press release, “This order will bring every barrel of Bakken crude within standards to improve the safety of oil for transport.” In a joint statement the three commissioners who signed the order – – North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring – – stressed that the order “reiterates the importance of making Bakken crude oil as safe as possible for transportation.”