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Published December 12, 2013, 08:46 AM

Rare gas drilling permits issued in southeast North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Oil and Gas Division has issued four drilling permits to a company that wants to explore for natural gas in Emmons and McIntosh counties in southeastern North Dakota, outside the western oil patch.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Oil and Gas Division has issued four drilling permits to a company that wants to explore for natural gas in Emmons and McIntosh counties in southeastern North Dakota, outside the western oil patch.

"It is so rare to see anything issued this far east of (U.S.) Highway 83," state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said in a statement. The highway runs north to south roughly through the middle of North Dakota.

Denver-based Strata-X Energy will be determining whether future drilling in the two counties would be economical, according to Helms. Another company drilled wells in Emmons County in 2006 and concluded they were not economical, he said.

Strata-X says those wells weren't drilled on the Niobrara gas formation, where it plans to explore.

"The Niobrara Formation in this area has been overlooked despite gas shows and small flares being reported," the company says on its website.

Strata-X says its Sleeping Giant Project is located on relatively flat agricultural lands with developed roads and infrastructure, and that two interstate natural gas pipelines in the area could provide a sales avenue for developed natural gas.

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