North Dakota tribe to drill its own oil wells for first time; drilling to start in early 2015

IndustriesAssociated Press

North Dakota's Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation is preparing to drill its own oil wells for the first time.

Fort Berthold Indian Reservation currently produces about a third of North Dakota's oil from 1,300 wells. But the tribes only take in a fraction of profits through royalties and a tax sharing agreement with the state.

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That's why the new wells will be important says tribal councilman Ken Hall. He says they will allow the tribe to take in 82 percent of money generated by each well.

The wells will be run by tribal-owned Missouri River Resources. Company CEO Dave Williams says they hope to begin drilling in February.

But opportunities for drilling more wells are limited as much of the reservation's land has already been leased to other oil companies.