BLM Completes Environmental Analysis to Drill Oil Wells near Lake Sakakawea


Bureau of Land Management

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North Dakota Field Office

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(DICKINSON, N. D.) – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed its environmental analysis on a proposal to drill oil wells on private land within the Fort Berthold Reservation near Lake Sakakawea.  With completion of this environmental analysis, the BLM will approve a permit for the Slawson Exploration Company to drill the first 8 of 11 wells from a single well pad.

The well pad will be located approximately 800 feet from the lake, with the production facilities located three quarters of a mile away.  Although the well pad and facilities will be located on private land, the BLM must issue an approved permit to drill the Federally-managed leases, which will be accessed through horizontal drilling. This area has seen significant oil and gas development in the past several years, with approximately 446 Federal, Tribal and allotted leases already in existence under Lake Sakakawea.

The Federally-managed minerals were leased to Slawson Exploration at the end of 2008 into 2009.  In 2011, the company submitted its application for permit to drill to the BLM, which began engagement with the public and consultation with the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. 

During the development of the environmental analysis, the BLM worked with the applicant to develop appropriate mitigation measures and best management practices that address concerns with the proposed development, which are part of the Decision Record.  

The BLM’s decision requires Slawson to obtain any other necessary Federal, State, and local permits and approvals prior to beginning development.

Once in production, North Dakota Industrial Commission estimates the operation will add approximately 220 jobs in North Dakota.

Detailed information is available online at

– BLM –


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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.