Oil and Gas

BLM

As the coronavirus pandemic hammers oil prices, the number of "orphaned" or abandoned oil wells could grow. A group wants to enlist newly unemployed oilfield workers in addressing the problem.

 


On Monday, domestic oil prices dropped more than 200 percent, settling at -$14.05 by day's end; the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price benchmark momentarily hit -$40.32. This marks the first time oil prices have ever dropped into the negatives.

BLM

There’s been too much oil on the market since well before the coronavirus outbreak. But a recent agreement to cut production won’t be enough to prevent states in the Mountain West from taking a big hit.

 

Brian Albers / KUER

Some of the nation's top polluters are now running on the honor system after the Environmental Protection Agency last week announced relaxed enforcement of environmental regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Donald Trump somewhat misrepresented his administration’s role in the expansion of domestic oil and gas production during his State of the Union address Tuesday. 

DARIN OSWALD / Idaho Statesman


Idaho’s oil and gas industry continues to spark interest, concern and controversy, especially in Payette County. Natural gas was discovered in southwest Idaho in 2010. Since then several gas wells and one oil well have been built. Now those wells are changing hands -- again. The new owner wants to put past issues of transparency and underpayments by the first owner behind him.

Colorado State Land Board

Recent data shows that the U.S. had more minable oil and natural gas reserves than ever before.

After a long hiatus, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind regulations on hydraulic fracturing on public lands is moving forward. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to hear oral arguments in January after prominent conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, filed suit in 2018.

This Reader's Corner interview was originally broadcast in November, 2018.

Energy has been a driver of some of the most important events from the last century. From World War I onward, oil has been key factor in the economies and foreign policies of every major player on the global stage. But with rapid technological developments and the unconventional oil boom, that power is shifting.

  

A controversial oil and gas advisory committee has been disbanded by the Trump administration, according to an interior department spokesperson.

A group of Western lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would give states control of oil and gas projects on federal lands.

Dan Boyce / Mountain West New Bureau

Oil and gas producing states around the country are closely watching Colorado this election season. Voters are deciding on a ballot measure dramatically increasing the so-called “set-back” distance drilling rigs need to be from homes.

Department of Interior

The nation’s first commercial oil-shale mine could be built here in our region. The Bureau of Land Management issued a decision that allows a mine in Utah’s Uinta Valley to move forward.

michaelarcand / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government has taken over regulating underground injection wells in Idaho in a move that could boost the state's oil and natural gas production by making it cheaper to dispose of wastewater.

oil, gas, drilling, oil drilling, gas drilling
Max Phillips via Flickr

Idaho officials want a Texas oil company to explain what a state agency calls "discrepancies" involving oil and gas production records for wells in Idaho following an evaluation of records dating back to 2014.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Interior Department has updated a rule that governs activities like ranching, mining and gas drilling on federal land. Obama Administration officials say they aim to simplify the process for land development, while building in more transparency and public input.

Joel Franusic / Flickr

The price at the pump is the lowest it has been in Idaho on this date since 2009. That's despite the cost of gas going up for more than a month.

Gas prices have risen for 36 of the past 41 days, says AAA Idaho. Despite that, Idaho's average price for a gallon of gas is just $2.07. It hasn't been that low on April 5 since 2009, when it hit $1.97 a gallon. In 2012, we were paying $3.78 for gas in early April.

Drew Morris

A group that’s critical of a bill making its way through the Idaho legislature rallied on the steps of the Idaho statehouse Monday. Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability organized the gathering in response to a Senate committee vote in favor of a bill to speed up oil and gas production. The bill would shorten the time for appeals to new energy applications.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has decided it won't use an option made available by lawmakers earlier this year intended to speed the commission's natural gas and oil decision making process.

The commissioners with the 3-0 vote on Wednesday chose not to use the option given to them by lawmakers earlier this year that allowed the commission to exempt itself from the contested case provision in Idaho law.

A Texas oil company having trouble with mineral rights holders in western Idaho who have refused to sign leases is asking Idaho officials to step in so plans to drill for natural gas or oil can move forward.

Houston-based Alta Mesa Holdings filed applications this week to begin a process called integration. That's a recently revised process the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission can use when a minority of mineral rights holders decline to take part in developing a potentially profitable oil or gas field.

Hopeful in NJ / Flickr

In just the last few weeks, Treasure Valley gas prices have increased by nearly 75 cents. Low oil prices caused the cost of gas to drop to less than $1.80 per gallon late last year. Oil prices are still low, but now gas is at $2.53.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Three northern Idaho counties are creating strategies for containing an oil spill as more oil is moving through the inland Northwest on trains.

Trains carry crude oil from North Dakota across the Idaho Panhandle at least twice a day. They run along lakes and rivers, and sometimes cross right over the water.

That’s made local emergency response managers in Boundary, Bonner and Kootenai counties even more nervous about what would happen if a train derailed.

side.tracked / Flickr Creative Commons

Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad wants to build a second bridge in northern Idaho to handle an expected increase in traffic that includes coal and oil trains.

Railway spokesman Gus Melonas tells The Spokesman-Review in a story on Wednesday that the one bridge at Sandpoint restricts train traffic.

The railway wants to build another bridge about 50 feet west of the existing bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille where it meets the Pend Oreille River.

Megaload
Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho State Police say two gigantic loads of oil production equipment headed for Montana didn't move Thursday morning.

One of the shipments is parked on U.S. Highway 20 east of Arco.

The other is parked on State Highway 93 at Lost Trail Pass about 10 miles from the Montana border.

The shipments being moved by Omega Morgan are bound for the Kearl oil sands of Alberta in Canada.

Weather has been a problem for moving the loads, and Montana officials have yet to issue a permit for the load 10 miles from the border.

Transportation, megaload
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A subsidiary of General Electric says it’s looking for alternative options for moving huge water purification equipment from the Northwest to Alberta, Canada.

A route through the middle of Idaho turned into a legal battle with the Nez Perce Tribe, but the alternatives are limited.

Resources Conservation Company International, the GE subsidiary, decided to withdraw a federal appeal that sought to re-open Idaho's Highway 12 to so-called “megaloads.” A judge had ordered the Forest Service to close the wild and scenic corridor to the shipments.

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