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Equinor Seeks ND Commission Help To Recover Bad Debts

The ND Industrial Commission found itself for the first time in the middle of a debt collection case, in which Equinor Energy LP is seeking $1.3 million reimbursement for participating in 38 North Dakota wells from JTT Oil LLC of Gillette, WY, which apparently is no longer in business.

Wes Wagner, senior joint venture analyst for Equinor in Houston, told the commission on December 19 it was seeking its help after repeated attempts in the past two years to contact Monty Sandvik, president of JTT, have been unsuccessful.

The company has never made any payments, and failed to respond to mail, email, and personal demands, Wagner said. The largest amount was $220,000 for the Pyramid 15-22 #1 H well in Williams County, in sections 15 and 22, T154N-R101W.

At a December 19 hearing, Equinor attorney Allison Jacobson appealed to the commission to approve the reimbursement costs.

However, Bruce Hicks, assistant director of the ND Dept. of Mineral Resources, said it was the first time such a case had come before the commission. It has been asked to resolve financial disputes between oil companies, but in this case, JTT was not disputing the demands from Equinor.

Equinor attorney Alison Jacobson cited a 2018 ND Supreme Court decision on behalf of Continental Resources vs. Counce Energy, which said that administrative remedies must first be resolved by the commission before action could be taken in district court.

In most of the cases, the drilling costs participation were made by previous owners—such as a previous case involving Brigham Oil and Gas and Huston Energy.

The commission said it would be at least a month before it would decide whether to meet Equinor’s request.