Saturday, April 4, 2020

Update On That Red Trail Energy Permit In Southwest North Dakota -- April 4, 2020

Well, well, well -- what do we have here?

Does anyone remember this post from December 2, 2019 -- note how quickly we move from getting the permit to drilling.
December 11, 2019: what is Red Trail up to? From April 20, 2019, US News, a carbon capture project. Data points:
  • this is being done to meet West Coast fuel standards
  • the company recently completed a geophysical survey of eight square miles around the plant
  • company's goal is to produce ethanol that will meet the low carbon fuel standards of California and/or the Pacific Northwest
  • the company and the EERC are targeting the Broom Creek formation, about 6,400 feet below ground that area
  • proposal: to inject about 160,000 metric tons of CO2 per year into the well
  • leaks? can anyone say Aliso Canyon gas leak?
December 7, 2019: from a reader, regarding the Red Trail Energy permit, see first comment:
The permit Red Trail is requesting for drilling could likely be related to research for a carbon sequestration project. Ive heard they have interest in a potential CO2 capture project. There will likely be permits requested for a well or wells in Oliver County in the near future as well which are related to Project Tundra, another potential CO2 capture project.
December 2, 2019, original post: Over at the NDIC well search site, this is the first and only permit (so far) for Red Trail Energy, LLC.  The website for Red Trail Energy greets visitors with huge "Ethanol" banner.
From the website:
Red Trail Energy, LLC (RTE) is a North Dakota-based investor group formed to finance, construct and operate a corn-based ethanol production facility located near Richardton, North Dakota. This vision became a reality when the $99 million, state-of-the-art plant began producing ethanol, in January of 2007. RTE now employs 47 personnel with an annual payroll of $2.9 million.
As one of the first coal-fired ethanol plants in the nation, RTE produces 50 million gallons of ethanol, using 18-20 million bushels of corn and ~100,000 tons of coal, annually. The plant will generate 2.8 gallons of ethanol from every bushel of corn. Coproducts produced by RTE include 125,000 tons of dried distillers grain and 80,000 tons of modified-wetcake annually.
The Richardton plant’s physical layout is composed of eleven structures, totaling 100,000 square feet of buildings, including administration, maintenance, processing, grain receiving, dried distillers grains storage, coal island, dryers and a pump house. The second-generation plant incorporates all the latest advances in ethanol processing, including equipment and technologies proven to boost efficiency and return on investment.
No mention of oil and gas operations.  The wildcat will be drilled on/near RTE property north of Richardton, ND. Richardton is east of Dickinson and about 100 miles west of Sterling, ND, where one turns south to Linton, ND. Linton is the county seat for Emmons County. Folks may remember Linton, ND: that's where the recent NDIC hearing on the DAPL expansion was held. Emmons County is the location of the fabled "Sleeping Giant" natural gas field.
The well with a rig on site:
  • 37229, conf, Red Trail Energy LLC, RTE 10, wildcat, SESE 10-139-92; 
Other recent news stories regarding this well:
The project is able to move forward due to Senator John Hoeven’s efforts to secure final approval for North Dakota’s regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells, which are used for geological or long-term storage of CO2, the first such approval in the nation.


  1. Just drove by this Redtrail Co2 capture well being drilled yesterday, its right next to Interstate 94 just east of the ethanol plant itself. They were drilling away the way it looked. It appears as though they are using a smaller "spudder rig" to drill the well instead of a large type drilling rig normally used for the Bakken/Three Forks wells.

    1. Thank you for the update. That would make sense -- the rig they might be using.