Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

(Regarding) minerals I have inherited in Slope County, North Dakota: As I look on the Oil and Gas Commission’s map, it appears that drilling stops at the north of the county and begins again in the county to the south.

It makes me wonder why. Since I don’t have a clue who the other mineral owners are, could it be because no one can find them? If this is the situation, does North Dakota allow an oil company to “force pool” that acreage and place those monies in a suspense account until the owners are found?  I’m concerned because I have enough acreage for the drilling locations, sites or pads.


Jack Gant

Mustang Island in Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast

Thanks for writing! I contacted North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter. Here’s what she said:

“There is a tiny part of the Bakken that reaches northeastern Slope County, and operators simply haven’t moved that far south yet. There is no Bakken formation present in (neighboring) Bowman County. Historically, any drilling done in Bowman County has targeted other formations. If mineral owners aren’t locatable, the royalties paid on a well are sent to the Unclaimed Property Division of the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands.”


Dear Teri,

I have a question that has come up often amongst friends while traveling together.

We have noticed that the yield signs are no longer posted on the on-ramps for interstate as they used to be and, fairly often, (I) have been flipped off by my fellow citizen for not adjusting for their inappropriate speeds, either way too slow or a speed above what is posted for the area. 

When I went to driving school many years ago, the person adjusted their speed coming onto the highway, to fit into the openings. Many of them are not up to speed yet, and they except me to slow down to let them onto the highway. Have there been some traffic rule changes that many of us missed?

Thanks for your time.

Donna Johnson


Thanks for writing! I contacted Lt. Jody Skogen with the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Jamie Olson with the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Here’s what Skogen said:

“Drivers entering a roadway from an on ramp should do so in a manner that does not cause traffic already on that roadway to be forced to compensate for them. That being said, responsible motorists can anticipate the merge and make a lane change or slightly adjust their speed to help facilitate a smooth and safe lane entry.”

Here’s what Olson said:

“The reason there are no longer yield signs on the on-ramps to the interstate is that, over the years, the interstate ramps have been lengthened to comply with federal standards. Therefore, yield signs are no longer needed. The entrance ramps allow you to adjust your speed to merge safely with the flow of traffic on the highway. Only stop on the ramps if there is no opening in the traffic flow. Unless posted signs indicate otherwise, any vehicle entering the freeway from an entrance ramp must yield the right of way to vehicles on the main roadway.

“Thank you for contacting the North Dakota Department of Transportation.”

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

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