What are the duties of the Field Operations Program?
Fundamentally, the purpose of the field operations program is ensure that all oil and
natural gas resources within the State are discovered, recovered, stored and transported under the safest conditions possible and with minimal influence on the environment. The
program provides onsite inspection to ensure that all operators and responsible parties comply with all laws, rules and orders relating to oil and natural gas operations. The
field operations program of the Oil and Gas Division can be divided into three separate, yet important groups;
- Field operations management
- Field inspection - Engineers/Technicians
- Field reclamation
I. Field Operations Management
Field management is comprised of the field supervisor in Bismarck and three district supervisors whom are
located in Minot, Williston and Dickinson. These four individuals have more than 130 years of combined regulatory experience.
The management group's primary duty is to manage daily assignments of field engineers and engineering technicians, to resolve major inspection and enforcement issues that might
arise, facilitate an exchange of relevant information with staff, as well as serve as technical experts to staff and operators.
II. Field Inspection
Field inspection encompasses three areas of expertise:
Field inspection represents the heart of the field operations program and is assigned to field engineers and field technicians.
North Dakota takes pride in having the best inspector-to-well ratio of any oil and gas producing state in the United States. The field operations program has more than 35 staff members
dedicated to inspection of drilling rigs, wells and associated facilities. These inspectors generate the on-site observations and documentation necessary for regulatory compliance. This
ensures the highest levels of safety to the public and landowners with least impact to the environment possible for oil and natural gas operations. Additionally, field engineers and
technicians commonly assist the Bismarck staff with inspection duties regarding treating plants, well abandonment and reclamation, as needed.
- drilling and completions
- production- injection-disposal
- geophysical exploration
A. Drilling and Completions
Field engineers monitor well and facility site construction, drilling rigs, and completion process(s). Ideally, the
field engineer will visit an active rig at least once a week.
Field technicians inspect production facilities, saltwater disposal
wells (SWD) and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) injection wells. Production facilities, tank batteries, active (producing) well sites, disposal and injection wells are inspected monthly.
C. Geophysical Exploration
The focus of these types of inspection are to ensure shot-holes used for exploration are properly drilled & plugged, distance
restrictions for shot hole and vibration operations are enforced and the affected areas remediated after completion.
III. Field Reclamation
The reclamation portion of the program is directed from the Bismarck office, with two reclamations specialists working
collaboratively with inspectors in the field. Reclamation focuses on a variety of areas including well-site recovery, spills, etc. Field engineers inspect reclaimed sites at least
annually to determine contour and vegetation status. When appropriate they initiate the bond release process.
How do I contact an inspector if I have a problem?
If you encounter a field-related problem please contact our Bismarck office at 701-328-8020, so
our front office staff can direct your call to the appropriate district. You may also try the field offices directly.
- Minot field office: (701) 857-7646
- Dickinson field office: (701) 227-7436
- Williston field office: (701) 774-4380
During the weekends, please call the Bismarck office where a recording will direct you to the on-call field inspector.