After less than a year on the job, Wyoming’s oil and gas supervisor is resigning, effective Tuesday. Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chair Bridget Hill declined to comment on Grant Black’s sudden resignation other than to say the Commission accepted it unanimously and thanked him for his service. Black didn’t return a call for comment.
The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is scheduled to begin a major review of rules dealing with setbacks, flaring and bonding in April. Hill says that process will continue.
“I do know that were some meetings scheduled already, and I don’t know the status of those meetings, but I’m hopeful, and I think the whole Commission is hopeful, that it won’t be a major slowdown," Hill says. "But we for sure know that we’ll continue to look at our rules and update those rules.”
Drilling activity is on the rise in Wyoming, and Hill says in the search for a new supervisor the Commission will be looking for someone who can take the lead on a variety of issues.
“Obviously we need somebody who can take all of those issues and move forward with those issues, and help the Commission as we deal with those issues and in our responsibility to regulate the development of oil and gas and make sure that as those developments go on, that the public safety and health issues are also taken into account,” Hill says.
Mark Watson, a petroleum engineer who’s been with the Commission for almost 30 years, and who was considered alongside Black for the position of oil and gas supervisor last year, has been appointed as interim supervisor. Hill says the Commission will begin the search process for a permanent replacement soon.