- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - An oil industry company has started its own ombudsman program to help it address pipeline problems.

Representatives from the Hess Corporation presented information about its Hess Community Connection program to Williams County commissioners at a meeting Jan. 19, since commissioners also sometimes get calls on pipeline problems.

The company launched the program last year in an effort to take a more proactive approach to reclamation issues related to the 1,200 miles of pipeline it owns and operates.

Hess senior land negotiator Rashan Clark told the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1SBbruU ) that the point of the company’s ombudsman program wasn’t to replace North Dakota’s fledgling pipeline reclamation program. He said it’s meant to improve the company’s processes by proactively addressing landowner complaints and issues, and providing a centralized location to process complaints.

Before the program, complaints sometimes went to the wrong person and could have been lost if that person left the company, Clark said.

The company’s program fielded 205 calls from February to December, and 84 percent of the calls have been resolved. The rest are in progress or on hold because of the weather.

Clark said the state’s program is an important addition to the energy sector. He said no Hess pipelines have made the state ombudsman’s list so far.

Hess operates 610,000 net acres in the Bakken.

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