In this week's news, an oilfield waste treating plant in North Dakota is being told to close and clean up its site; the rig count went up again last week, this time by 11; and an oil company is selling its Williston assets to focus on the Permian Basin

An oilfield waste treating plant near Killdeer, North Dakota, with a history of not complying with state rules, must close after state regulators denied the facility a permit last week, according to The Dickinson Press.

The health department first granted a permit in 2012 to Renewable Resources, which processes oil-contaminated waste and drill cuttings. Recent changes in state regulations required the company to get a treating plant permit from the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

Commissioners, however, denied the permit because the facility sits on top of the Killdeer Aquifer in a geologically and hydrologically sensitive area.

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Renewable Resources will be required to properly dispose of a stockpile of oilfield waste that was estimated to be nearly four times the amount the facility was allowed to store, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Rig Count Continues to Rise

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 11 last week to 522, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Sept. 30.

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The Houston-based company says 425 rigs were seeking oil and 96 were searching for natural gas. One rig was listed as miscellaneous. Last year 809 rigs were active.

Of the major oil and gas producing states, New Mexico increased by three rigs and North Dakota went up by two. Going up by one rig each were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Texas lost one rig from the week prior.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

SM Energy Selling Assets in Williston Basin

SM Energy Company announced Oct. 3 that it is working with Petrie Partners to explore a sale of leasehold assets in the Williston Basin. The assets to be sold include about 54,500 net acres.

Jay Ottoson, company president and CEO says SM Energy will focus on its assets in the Permian Basin.

The company also announced that it has closed on previously announced sale of assets in New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

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