The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota has announced plans to begin drilling its own oil wells for the first time. The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is already responsible for about 1/3 of the state’s petroleum output from around 1,300 wells, yet the local tribe only takes in a fraction of the profits through royalties and a tax sharing agreement with North Dakota.
According to The Huffington Post, tribal councilman Ken Hall believes that this is why the new wells will be so important, because they will allow the tribe to receive 82% of the money that’s generated by each well. He says that this “presents a huge opportunity for the tribe to get involved rather than be passive royalty owners.”
The tribal-owned Missouri River Resources will operate the wells, which company CEO Dave Williams says will begin drilling in February if everything goes according to plan. The problem is that the opportunities for drilling more wells are severely limited due to the fact that much of the reservation’s land has already been leased to other oil companies.