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New Permitting Plan for Kerns County, Ca.

by Elizabeth Alford on July 30, 2015

In one California county, officials are working to ease tensions between surface and mineral owners. The Kern County Board of Supervisors held its first workshop last Monday to lay out a newly created permitting plan for oil and gas drilling in the county.

Related: Join other Kern County mineral owners in the forum

The county ordinance and permit program covers 2.3 million acres and will require oil companies to get county approval before drilling. This reverses over 100 years of tradition that previously allowed oil companies to drill wherever they wanted, often without consideration for the competing interests of surface and mineral owners. The new ordinance is designed to allow the two groups to compromise.

A full house was on hand at the workshop with the vast majority  consisting of oil and gas leaders and workers who clearly support the new plan. Opponents will have plenty of time to voice concerns over the plan. The board is dedicating the next five months to public comment until final action is taken on the issue in early October.

Suzanne Noble, vice president of the Western States Petroleum Association, told county officials the oil industry is willing to undertake more expense and effort to comply with the county rules in order to get the economic certainty they could get wells permitted.

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The federal government must recalculate land buy-back offers that short changed mineral lease owners on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.

Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

A program signed signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 was designed to give individual landowners an opportunity to help address the problem of fractionation, the divided ownership that happens as land parcels passed to numerous heirs over generations. The buy-back program has  $1.9 billion available to purchase fractional interests.

Original purchase offers were made for $7.50 per acre, but land carrying a mineral lease is worth quite a bit more. The original deal valued at $128 million would cheat residents out of milions

Interior spokeswoman, Treci Johnson blamed human error for the wide difference in the purchase offers for land with mineral leases for Peck Reservation lands. “To correct the error, Johnson said additional mineral research will need to be conducted and the land will be further analyzed to ‘ensure that corrected offers reflect fair market value for mineral interests.’ ”

The Department of the Interior estimates that there are approximately 150 reservations with 2.9 million purchasable fractional interests owned by approximately 245,000 individuals.

Fort Peck residents have until July 30th to agree to the purchase, though Johnson says a new deadline should be forthcoming.


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Oil Glut Causing Prices to Dive

July 27, 2015

The roller coaster continues in the oil and gas industry as crude takes another dive throughout July. After rising slightly in the spring, crude began to decline again in July and hit a new low today with Nasdaq reporting WTI at $47.36 by midday. Analysts blame the price drop on the crude glut that is continuing to mount. […]

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Fracking Linked to Drop-Out Rates

July 23, 2015

A new study links the spread of fracking to increased drop out rates among high school males. The fracking boom over the past decade has brought economic prosperity to many people, with some analysts predicting it will generate more than 600,000 jobs by 2020. It is no exaggeration to say that oil and gas fracking […]

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Summary of the Oil Bust

July 20, 2015

June marked the anniversary of the beginning of the 2014 oil crash. What started as a slow decline in crude prices accelerated into a full-blown crash throughout the fall. Once prices finally bottomed out in March at $48, they had dropped by more than half. As things became worse, uncertainty and predictions of doom became commonplace. […]

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Oil & Gas Bankruptcies Likely to Increase

July 16, 2015

For many seasoned oilmen, the downturn has been a wake up call and an opportunity for producers to take a hard look at their systems, processes, personnel, technology and strategies outside of the frenetic pace the boom required. Read more:  Oil Bust Brings Opportunities For others, the opportunity never materialized and the cracks are beginning […]

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EIA: U.S. Oil Production Has Peaked

July 13, 2015

A new government report concludes that U.S. oil production has peaked and will decline over the next year. Related:Birthday of 2014 Oil Crash The Energy Information Administration released its Short-Term Energy Outlook last week showing that U.S. oil production hit 9.7 million barrels per day in April, the highest level since 1971. Production fell in […]

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California Now Toughest on Fracking

July 9, 2015

California now has some of the toughest fracking guidelines in the nation. After a 2 year grace period, California lawmakers implemented SB-4 last week. The landmark legislation, authored by State Senator, Fran Pavley was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013. Related: New York Prohibits Fracking The new regulations force expanded monitoring and reporting of air […]

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Federal Fracking Rule on Hold

July 7, 2015

Fracking champions get a temporary reprieve as the new ruling for fracking on public lands is halted, just days before it was set to go into effect. Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands Last week,  U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl heard arguments from industry groups and oil and gas-producing states who called […]

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U.S. Rig Counts on the Rise

July 6, 2015

The U.S. rig count increased last week for the first time since December 2014. This is welcome news after months of instability as producers pulled back rigs to wait out the current pricing environment. Related: Bakken Rig Count Increases Related: Eagle Ford Rigs Increase to 120 According to Baker Hughes, who publishes weekly rig statistics, […]

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