BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A company exploring for natural gas outside of western North Dakota's oil patch says it has found the resource but is far from determining whether it would be economical to start production.
Strata-X Energy received four drilling permits from the state last year for Emmons and McIntosh counties in southeastern North Dakota. It was a move that state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms called "rare" at the time. The Denver-based company drilled a well about 10 miles east of Linton in June and said in a statement last month that it hit gas.
"It is anticipated that three additional wells may be drilled on other large prospects mapped over the Sleeping Giant Gas Project later this year following successful production testing of this well," the company said.
Company President Tim Hoops told KXMB-TV that it would take many wells to make the project viable. He also said it is difficult to get oil-field service companies to leave western North Dakota, where the oil and gas business is booming.
Another company drilled in Emmons County in 2006 and concluded gas wells weren't economical, but Strata-X says the other company drilled outside of the Niobrara gas formation, where it is exploring. Strata-X has obtained leases on about 187 square miles for its Sleeping Giant Gas Project.