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Oil and Gas Permitting
Oil and Gas Transfers From One Operator To Another
Oil and Gas Website Subscriptions
General Web Help
How do I update my surface/mineral rights?
You will need to contact the county recorder office for the county in which the lands reside.
You may also need to file with them a statement of claim form. (Please be advised that this statement of claim form is available as a convenience. Any additional fees assessed in filing this form are not the responsibility of the DMR.)
You can find county recorder office contact information on the North Dakota Association of Counties web site.
How do I see what activity is going on around my land/mineral rights?
The best way is to use the GIS Map Server, which is available free from the Oil & Gas Division home page. Once the map server window has loaded, click on "Find Section" tab on the lower left side of the screen and put in your legal description. Click zoom to section and view your area of interest. There are several layers and tools you can use to further investigate your area of interest. Give our office a call for more details.
When do I receive my first royalty check?
Before a royalty check is issued, mineral interests must be determined and a title opinion may need to be completed.
If all leases do not contain voluntary pooling language, a pooling hearing must be held and a pooling order issued by the Industrial Commission.
Normally, you should receive your first royalty check within one to two months from the time the oil and gas is marketed.
What is the going rate for land to be leased?
The Oil and Gas Division has no information with regard to the leasing of any lands. Leases are recorded at the county recorder's office for the county in which the lands reside. You can find county recorder office contact information on the North Dakota Association of Counties web site.
The North Dakota State Land Department Minerals Management Division web page has the results of the most recent State Land Department quarterly oil and gas lease auction which may be used as a reference. Just follow the link on the page to "Oil and Gas Leasing".
If my royalty check is late, what percent interest are they supposed to pay?
Section 47-16-39.1 of the North Dakota Century Code states in part:
If the operator under
an oil and gas lease fails to pay oil or gas royalties to the mineral owner or the mineral owner's
assignee within one hundred fifty days after oil or gas produced under the lease is marketed and
cancellation of the lease is not sought, the operator shall pay interest on the unpaid royalties at
the rate of eighteen percent per annum until paid, except that the commissioner of university and
school lands may negotiate a rate to be no less than the prime rate as established by the Bank of
North Dakota plus four percent per annum with a maximum of eighteen percent per annum, for
unpaid royalties on minerals owned or managed by the board of university and school lands.
Provided, that the operator may remit semiannually to a person entitled to royalties the aggregate
of six months' monthly royalties where the aggregate amount is less than fifty dollars. The district
court for the county in which the oil or gas well is located has jurisdiction over all proceedings
brought pursuant to this section. The prevailing party in any proceeding brought pursuant to this
section is entitled to recover any court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. This section does
not apply when mineral owners or their assignees elect to take their proportionate share of
production in kind or in the event of a dispute of title existing that would affect distribution of
royalty payments; however, the operator shall make royalty payments to those mineral owners
whose title and ownership interest is not in dispute.
What is the procedure for a land/mineral owner to appear at a hearing?
All oil and gas hearings are open to the public. If you wish to submit something on the record you must attend the hearing and sign the witness register, state your name, address, interest in the matter, qualifications, and the reason you want to appear. The hearing dockets, as well as live hearing audio when hearings are in progress, can be obtained from this web site.
Where can I find an attorney to handle oil & gas matters?
You can find oil and gas attorney information on the ND State Bar Association website or in the phone book Yellow Pages.
Where can I find information about ND oil and gas taxes?
You can find ND state oil and gas tax FAQ's on the North Dakota Oil and Gas Tax FAQ page.
What does the term confidential mean?
When an operator requests and is granted confidential (tight hole) status for a well, it restricts our ability to release information about the well. Section 43-02-03-31 of the North Dakota Administrative Code states in part:
All information furnished to the director on new permits, except the operator name, well
name, location, spacing or drilling unit description, spud date, rig contractor, and any production
runs, shall be kept confidential for not more than six months if requested by the operator in
writing. The six-month period shall commence on the date the well is completed or the date the
written request is received, whichever is earlier. If the written request accompanies the
application for permit to drill or is filed after permitting but prior to spudding, the six-month
period shall commence on the date the well is spudded.
All information furnished to the director on recompletions or reentries, except the
operator name, well name, location, spacing or drilling unit description, spud date, rig contractor,
and any production runs, shall be kept confidential for not more than six months if requested by
the operator in writing. The six-month period shall commence on the date the well is completed
or the date the well was approved for recompletion or reentry, whichever is earlier. Any
information furnished to the director prior to approval of the recompletion or reentry shall
This means that the only information the agency may release during the confidential period is the name the operator, the well name and location, the spacing or drilling unit description, spud date (when they commenced drilling), the rig contractor, and any production runs (oil sold) from the well.
The list of wells currently on confidential status is located here.
Why can’t I get any information on a confidential well even if I own the mineral/surface rights?
Section 38-08-04 of the North Dakota Century Code states in part that the commission has the authority:
To provide for the confidentiality of well data reported to the commission if
requested in writing by those reporting the data for a period not to exceed six months.
And Section 43-02-03-14 of the North Dakota Administrative Code states in part:
The confidentiality of any data submitted which is confidential pursuant to subsection
6 of North Dakota Century Code section 38-08-04 and section 43-02-03-31 must be maintained.
Section 38-08-16 Part 2 makes willful violation by releasing information a class C felony. The date when information can be released for a well may be found in the confidential well list once the well has been spud.
What does this well type or well status code or other abbreviation mean?
On most of our web pages that use codes or abbreviations (except the GIS map page), you can obtain the definition by hovering the mouse pointer over the code or abbreviation. Otherwise there will be a "Code Definitions" button in the upper left corner. Clicking the button will take you to a web page where you can choose the code type from a drop down box and then click the "Get List" button to see an explanation of the codes.
How can I find information on wells by company, location, or field?
Clicking on the "Well Search" button on the left side of our home page will take you to the Well Search page. Searches can be performed based on operator name, field name, and township and range.
Is there a file/spreadsheet/database that shows all the permitted wells in North Dakota?
Clicking on the "GIS Map Server" button on the left side of our home page will take you to the Oil and Gas GIS page. Click the "Download Shape Files" button in the upper right corner of the GIS map server page. You will see a list of downloadable files appear in the pane on the lower part of the page. The "Wells.zip" file includes a .dbf file (which can be opened in Excel) of all the wells. Well Search page. Searches can be performed based on operator name, field name, and township and range.
Oil and Gas Permitting
Where can I find well permitting forms? You can find oil and gas permitting forms in the following locations:
When I receive my permit to drill can I start dirt work right away?
No. The NDIC requires operators to wait 3 business days before starting to build the location or lease road:
Operators shall not commence operations on a drill site until the 3rd business day following publication of the
approved drilling permit on the NDIC - OGD Daily Activity Report. If circumstances require operations to
commence before the 3rd business day following publication on the Daily Activity Report, the waiting period
may be waived by the Director. Application for a waiver must be by sworn affidavit providing the information
necessary to evaluate the extenuating circumstances, the factors of NDAC 43-02-03-16.2 (1), (a)-(f), and any
other information that would allow the Director to conclude that in the event another owner seeks revocation of
the drilling permit, the applicant should retain the permit.
This policy is intended to counter the rapidly increasing workload resulting from minority working interest owners
submitting APD’s as allowed under North Dakota law and commencing operations without notifying other working
interest owners. Under these circumstances, the first opportunity for other working interest owners to learn about the
approved drilling permit is when it appears on the NDIC – OGD website Daily Activity Report. The result is a rapidly
increasing number of applications to suspend and revoke drilling permits with a change of operator after notice and
hearing. In addition, these cases are introducing increasingly complex circumstances which must be evaluated by
NDIC – OGD and Attorney General’s Office staff.
If I do not plan to utilize a permit to drill should I just let it expire?
No. An operator should never let the permit expire. Pursuant to NDAC 43-02-03-16 a permit is in effect for one year.
Can my Permit to Drill be renewed?
Yes. This must be completed every anniversary of the permit date. It must be renewed on a Form 4 (Sundry Notice) with the $100.00 fee.
Does the state have any guidelines for well location plats?
All plats must meet the North Dakota State Board of Registration for Professional Land Surveyor standards (http://ndpelsboard.org/) to include: register w/ND Secretary of State, plats referenced to True North, etc.
Can I access permit applications which have not yet been approved?
No. All information received by the State is not made public until after the well has been issued. Confidentiality will be denoted by each individual permit on a case by case basis after issuance of the permit.
When are the yearly/monthly statistics available?
Typically they are available mid-February to early March. The main issue is obtaining all information from the previous year and ensuring proper quality control and accuracy of all data.
Does the state have guidelines for utilizing directional tools?
Yes. See the information below:
When filing certified surveys please follow these guidelines:
1. All wells must be depicted exactly as they were drilled. We require that all
original laterals and any sidetracks be kept separately, labeled as to what they
depict (e.g.: leg 1, or leg-sidetrack 1, etc.), and filed in their entirety from the tie-in
point to a projection to total measured depth of each leg or sidetrack.
2. When additional laterals and/or sidetracks are surveyed, the tie-in point should be
listed as the first survey. Do not include any surveys prior to the tie-in as they are
required to be filed with the previous lateral or sidetrack. The survey point used
for the tie-in should be the last survey run immediately above the sidetrack depth.
3. All surveys must be submitted and no surveys should be deleted at any time
unless they are outside your company’s parameters for a “good survey” and cannot be corrected using an approved method.
4. Within 30 days of attaining total depth, all surveys, including the certification,
must be submitted to the Commission as one Adobe (.pdf) document to:
5. Surveys must always be corrected to True North and a notation made to that
Measurement inaccuracies need not be considered when determining compliance with the
spacing/drilling unit boundary setback requirements except in the following scenarios:
1. When the angle between the well bore and the respective spacing/drilling unit
boundary is 10 degrees or less.
2. If industry standard methods and equipment are not utilized.
3. When deemed necessary by the Director.
If measurement inaccuracies are required to be considered, a 2° MWD measurement
inaccuracy is applied to the well bore from the KOP to TD and is calculated by
multiplying the tangent of 2° (which equals 0.03492) by the corresponding coordinate
distance. The new setback can be calculated at any point by taking the distance
traveled north/south times the tangent of 2° and adding it to the east/west setback or
taking the distance traveled east/west times the tangent of 2° and adding it to the
north/south setback. (*Tool error will not be considered if a 1220’ setback is
The requirements for surveying horizontal well bores are as follows:
1. Directional surveys are required at least 30’ in the build section (or when steering
the well) and at least every 90’ in the lateral portion of the well bore while
rotating. A waiver to the 30’ survey interval may be obtained if 45’ drill pipe is
2. Gyro surveys are required at 100’ intervals on all cased hole re-entry operations.
3. Directional surveys are required at 100’ intervals in the vertical portion of the
well bore with the tie-in point located at the surface casing shoe except in the
a. Tie to the surface if an MWD tool or GYRO is run from surface.
b. Tie in at 30’ below surface casing shoe if a continuous directional log is
run (e.g. Schlumberger GPIT log).
4. Lastly, proper magnetic spacing must be maintained in order to insure azimuth
If I am a directional drilling contractor and own directional tools do I need to be pre-approved by the state?
Yes, we require all directional contractors to be registered by the Secretary of State. In addition, the owner of the directional tool must submit tool specifications to ensure industry standards are being utilized.
How soon does the owner of the directional tool need to send in the certified survey after the well attains total depth?
Specifically pursuant to NDAC 43-02-03-25 “The survey contractor shall file with the director free of charge one certified electronic copy of all surveys, in a form approved by the director, within thirty days of attaining total depth. Such survey shall be in reference to true north”.
Oil and Gas Transfers From One Operator To Another
Can I transfer an active well from one operator to another?
Yes. This must be completed on a Form 15.
Can I transfer a constructed pad for a well which has not spud?
Yes. If the location is constructed but the well is permitted but not drilled, it will need to be transferred via Form 15. However, the receiving operator must file either a Form 4 or Form 1 along with any revised permit documents depending upon individual circumstances.
Can I assign permits from one operator to another?
No. NDIC Oil and Gas Division permits are specific to the individual operator. Most companies drill wells in a somewhat different manner from one another. If the pad or lease road is not constructed, we will require that the permit be cancelled by the “transferring” operator and re-permitted (via Form 1) by the “receiving” operator; this can/should be done simultaneously.
Does the State collect actual data from the Geophysical Contractor?
No. We do not collect recorded data, as that information is highly confidential and utilized by geophysicists to help accurately depict formation structure within the project area.
Do I need to email a map along with my Geophysical Project Permit?
Yes. All permits require an electronic copy of the preplot map to include a topo layer in relation to the source and receiver points.
Where do I find monthly production statistics?
Production information for individual wells, fields and units may be obtained through the subscription service on our web site, or you may subscribe to the monthly production report and have the reports sent to you each month.
Where do I find production and injection forms?
Production and injection forms are located here:   North Dakota Oil and Gas Forms page.
How do I report production or injection online?
The instructions for setting up online production and injection reporting are located here:   North Dakota Oil and Gas Division eFile page.
How do I find total production for all wells?
If you have a basic subscription, click on the "well Index" button on the left side menu and download the well_index.zip file, which is an Excel spreadsheet. Under the 'OilWaterGasCums' column the total oil, water, and gas volume is separated by the pipe (|) symbol. Multiple formations are separated by a comma. This file is also available in the premium subscription area by clicking the "Well Index & Downloads button.
How do I find total production for an individual well?
Both the Basic and Premium Subscription areas have a "Well Production" button on the left side of the page. Clicking this will take you to a form where you can input the well number and see production data for that well.
Oil and Gas Website Subscriptions
What are the different types of subscriptions?
The Oil and Gas Division has two levels of subscription: Basic ($50.00 per year) and Premium ($175.00 per year). Both subscription plans feature ways to obtain additional data.
General Web Help
Why do PDF documents sometimes open up as a blank page?
This is caused by using an out of date version of Adobe Acrobat Reader that cannot read the newer PDF file versions. Please upgrade your Acrobat Reader to the latest version which is available from the www.adobe.com web site. It is a good practice to keep all of your web browser plugins up to date.
Why do some of the TIF log images open up blank or as a narrow strip?
This problem usually occurs because the TIF image viewer you are using cannot handle the large image dimensions of the scanned image. While most picture and fax viewers can handle large file sizes, large file dimensions are all together different. Most image viewers are designed to handle pictures and faxes. The page dimensions of these images are usually 8-1/2 by 11 inches or smaller.
Scanned logs can have image dimensions exceeding 100 feet in length. To put this in perspective, take a 100 foot long log image scanned at 300 DPI (dots per inch) and you get an image 360,000 pixels long. To get a 360,000 pixel long image from an 11 inch piece of paper, you would have to scan it at 32,727 DPI. You may need to install a third party viewer that can handle these large dimensions. If your image viewer does not have a plugin for your web browser, save the TIF image to your computer first and then open it with your viewer. To save the image to your computer with Microsoft Internet Explorer, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As..." from the drop down menu.
When I try to either print a map or generate a PDF map on the GIS server page, why does the entire state redraw?
This problem is caused by pop-up blockers. The pop-up blockers need to either be turned off, or configured to allow pop-ups from our web site. Please check any additional toolbars you may have installed (such as Google or Yahoo) that may have pop-up blockers in addition to the one supplied with your web browser.
How do I download shape and data files?
Click the "Download Shape Files" button in the upper right corner of the GIS map server page. You will see a list of downloadable files appear in the pane on the lower part of the page.
How do I extract well data from a map?
First zoom into the part of the map you are interested in. Next, click the "Rect Identify" button (to select a rectangular area) or the "Select Object" button and select the specific well/wells you need the data for. The data will appear in the pane below the map.
How do I find a specific well on the map?
Click the "Find Well" button on the left side of the page. In the pane below the map you can search for a well by name or browse through the alphabetical listings. After you select a well, the map will zoom to the well location and the well will be highlighted in green.
Where can I find metadata?
We do not maintain metadata in our shapefiles.
Why does the rect identify tool not work?
Insure that the correct layer is selected as active (circular radio button is highlighted). Features on the selected layer are then available to be selected.
Why does an error pop up saying file size too large to download when I open the GIS Server?
This error might pop up for users who have large computer screens. Try to reduce the size of your browser window and the error should go away.
Where can I find a map of _______ wells to print?
Specific wells can be found on the GIS server by zooming into the general area of the well, and then clicking the "Search" button on the left menu. A textbox will appear at the bottom of the page where search terms can be entered. Printable maps can be created from our GIS server page by taking a screen shot of the current map and printing it, or by clicking the "Create PDF" button on the left hand menu. After the PDF is created it can then be saved and printed.
What do the symbols in the Permit Status Before Spud layer represent?
Clicking on the "Legend/Layers" button in the upper left corner will alternately display the map legend or layers menu on the right side of the page. The permit status before spud information is at the top of the map legend.
When I try to create a PDF, nothing happens
Be sure all pop-up blockers are set to allow https://www.dmr.nd.gov. Also, insure that your computer has the latest updates from Adobe.
When I try to find a well/section/field, nothing happens when I click on the button
Insure your browser is set to check for new versions of stored pages.
Why don't the wells display on the map?
Some features on the map will not display until the map is zoomed to the proper extent. Click on the "Zoom in" button on the left menu, right click the map in the upper left of the area you want to zoom, drag to the lower left of the area, and release the mouse button. The map will zoom to the area you selected. If the wells/features are still not visible, you may need to zoom further.
What coordinate system is used for the GIS map server?
How can I download data for particular wells?
Click on the "Rect Identify" button on the left menu, insure the Wells layer is active (right menu, radio button next to Wells is on, right click the upper left corner of the area you want, drag to the lower left, and release the mouse button. A list of wells and data in the area you selected will appear in the lower pane. Alternatively, you can click the "Download Shape Files" button in the upper right corner, and a "Wells.zip" file will appear in the lower pane - this file has well data for all wells in the state.
Where can I find Lat / Lon for wells, rigs etc?
Click on the "Rect Identify" button on the left menu, insure the correct layer is active (right menu, radio button next to the layer you want is on), right click the upper left corner of the area you want, drag to the lower left, and release the mouse button. A list of the features you selected will appear in the lower pane with lat/lon values.