North Dakota finishes Missouri River minerals adjustment

December 19, 2022 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials announced completion Monday of a mineral ownership dispute that has paid $130 million to private mineral owners and oil and gas operators.

North Dakota’s five-member, governor-led Land Board said the completion of the Missouri River acreage adjustment meant to delineate state and private mineral ownership was finished 11 months ahead of schedule.

The project involves 510 state-issued oil and gas leases covering 39,500 mineral acres.

North Dakota owns all minerals up to a boundary called the ordinary high water mark of navigable bodies of water, including the Missouri River, which was dammed in 1953, creating the reservoir of Lake Sakakawea. That boundary has drawn disputes and litigation over the years.

The 2017 Legislature commissioned a survey to determine the ordinary high water mark on the river west of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

The legislation also required the Land Board to work with oil and gas operators to adjust state leases and related revenues to reflect the new acreage ownership determined by the survey.