Note: We’ve let a few weeks slip by without an update on oil and gas activities in Colorado to devote attention to the recent election. Now that life is back to normal, here are just a few of the energy news briefs that have hit the media recently. Watch for more updates later this week.BLM Leases More Federal Land for Gas
In October, the Bureau of Land Management leased 141 parcels for a total of 119,000 acres for oil and gas development located mostly on the Western Slope. The leases raised $10.4 million with half the revenues going to the state of Colorado.
Bye, Bye to Oil Company Tax Breaks
Billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks are targeted for repeal by the Democratic led Congress next year. Tax breaks were instituted for refinery expansion, geological studies, and domestic drilling that Congressional Budget office says gave the oil companies over $6.4 billion dollars worth of tax credits over the past 10 years.
Next year, Congress will also address offshore drilling leases that have allowed energy companies to avoid paying federal royalties worth another $10 billion in government revenues.
Drilling Boom Continues in NW Colorado
ExxonMobil will increase its oil and gas operations in the Piceance Basin, located northwest of Rifle, to include more than 1,000 additional wells in the next 30 years. ExxonMobil also plans to build 60 miles of roads and pipelines and a central gas processing plant that will employ about 400 workers during the construction phases. Last year, the company produced about 45 million cubic feet of gas per day from its 52 wells.
The Bureau of Land Management is preparing a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Piceance Basin because it predicted about 1,000 wells would be drilled over the 20-year life of the plan when currently it is estimated that 10,000 wells will be eventually drilled in that area.
It’s Safe Until It’s Not
Two commercial oil and gas drilling waste facilities are being proposed by the Dalbo Inc. company in Mesa and Rio Blanco counties. Energy companies would be able to dump their water and petroleum waste products in the evaporation ponds, which supposedly cause little environmental or public health hazard unless water escapes from the pond and contaminates groundwater.
The proposed evaporator pond in Mesa County would cover nearly 200 acres south of the town of DeBeque. A local citizen who lives near a similar facility said that it doesn’t look very nice and whatever is being dumped there is not necessarily the best thing.
Most drilling companies use evaporator ponds built on private property.