Two Wyoming conversation groups have joined others in suing to protect the Fortification Creek area of the Powder River Basin from natural gas development.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council and Powder River Basic Resource Council complain that the Bureau of Land Management approved a plan to allow coalbed methane development in an area that was previously protected from energy development.
Retired B-L-M Wildlife Biologist Larry Gerard says the move surprised him because the area is filled with wildlife.
More than half of the public lands in the continental U.S. that have been leased to oil and gas companies are not actually being drilled, according to a report by the Department of the Interior.
Bruce Hinchey of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says that’s because there are so many hoops that oil and gas companies have to jump through. He says it often takes over a year to get a permit to drill. And Environmental Impact Statements, which are required for large-scale energy development, take even longer.
Western state officials took turns bashing the federal government at a congressional field hearing on proposed nationwide drilling rules on hydraulic fracturing. But Democrats on the panel Wednesday, along with some Colorado environmental activists, insisted that health concerns around the drilling procedure known as fracking mean there is a need for common health and safety standards. Officials from Colorado, Wyoming and Utah testified before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Wednesday at the
Wells drilled in the Niobrara shale in southeastern Wyoming aren’t producing nearly as much oil as some had expected. But Anadarko Petroleum, one of the big oil companies exploring the shale, expressed nothing but optimism at a Business Expo in Cheyenne Tuesday.
Wells drilled in the Wyoming part of the Niobrara Shale are producing less than half the amount of oil that wells in Colorado are producing. That’s according to Wyoming Oil and Gas Supervisor Tom Doll, who discussed the matter with lawmakers late last week. However, Bruce Hinchey of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming isn’t discouraged. He said the eastern Wyoming drilling site has a lot of potential –they just have to figure out exactly how to tap into it. “It’s not a play where you just go out and punch a hole and you’ve got a big oil well.
The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners voted unanimously this/Thursday morning to approve a new lease form that will govern oil and gas extraction on state lands. Assistant Director of the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments Harold Kemp says the new form puts in writing many longstanding state requirements. For example, he says, it clarifies what deductions industry may claim before making royalty payments to the state. Kemp says the changes have been a long time coming.