'Sovereignty by the Barrel': Tribe Takes Control of Oil Production


The Three Affiliated Tribes are reclaiming oil production on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota.

Missouri River Resources (MRR),  a tribal-owned oil company with the motto "Sovereignty by the Barrel",  produced its first barrel of oil in June 2015 on the reservation. Now the Three Affiliated Tribes's business is churning out roughly 1,000 barrels of oil daily for the nation, reported The Bismark Tribune.

Previously, the tribe had leased the majority of tribal lands to private companies to tap the bedrock of oil under its surface. By taking on leaseholds that are new or expiring, MRR is gaining more autonomy. Through MRR, the tribe gets back 26 percent of royalties when it drills its own oil. When the drilling is done by private companies, the tribe takes just 18 percent.

"We're big players in the whole scheme of things," said Hall, adding that the tribe can put the funds toward areas such as infrastructure, law enforcement and education, as well as invest back into the oil company.

MRR's plans for 2016 include three four-well projects and one for next year that's 32 wells, MRR board chairman Ken Hall told the heraldcourier.com.

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