The dangers of the Bering Sea crab fishery have been made famous by the reality TV show Deadliest Catch. But, in the last 15 years, that industry has become much safer, in large part thanks to collaboration between industry, scientists and regulators. We wondered: are there lessons that the oil and gas industry could learn from the crab industry’s safety gains?
North Dakota is the most dangerous state in the country for oil and gas workers.
But that fact hasn't gotten a lot of attention until now. Governor Jack Dalrymple announced to Inside Energy this week that he's planning to bring together the state’s top safety officials to look into fatalities in the industry, and to see what they can do better.
As oil production continues to boom in the Powder River Basin, illegal wastewater dumping is a growing problem. Kodiak Oilfield in Converse County was recently cited for illegally dumping produced water, one of 14 water violations in the state so far this year.
Oil fields typically produce about twice as much water as they do oil – water that is high in sodium content and contains hydrocarbons. Dumping this water into streams, rivers, or fields could interfere with natural habitat, soil, and water quality.
If you live right next to a drilling rig, or your kids go to school beside a fracking site, or your county is suddenly littered with well pads -- are there health risks? That’s a question that’s been asked from Pennsylvania to North Dakota, from Colorado to Texas as more and more people find themselves and their towns in the midst of an unprecedented energy boom.
The Wyoming House of Representatives began debating a bill that would increase the bonding required from oil and gas developers who need to drill on private surface land.
The bond is used in lieu of a negotiated surface use agreement between landowners and energy companies. The agreement established payment for surface damage. Currently the bond is two thousand dollars and the bill would raise it to ten thousand dollars.
Nearly half of Wyoming is federal land, and the government collects billions of dollars in taxes and royalties every year from industries using that land. But it isn’t always clear where that money goes, and who benefits from it. Now, an international initiative is trying to change that.
After what the state characterized as a knock-down, drag-out fight with Chesapeake Oil, it’s planning to allow drilling in a sage grouse conservation area.
The protected areas were established by executive order in 2011 in order to conserve critical sage grouse habitat, with the goal of keeping the bird off the endangered species list. The new plan modifies the protections in an area near Douglas where Chesapeake has oil and gas leases.
The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for hydraulic fracturing.
But it's not clear whether the fluids will be widely embraced by drilling companies.
Fracking has made it possible to tap into energy reserves across the nation but also has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water along with sand and hazardous chemicals are injected underground to free the oil and gas from rock.
The Lincoln County Commissioners are backing True Oil L-L-C proposal to drill two gas wells in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. One well would be located on a well pad where oil development has already occurred, the second would be a new well.
Lincoln County Commission Chairman Kent Connelly says the company plans to use new technology to recover the gas, and that’s why they support the plan.
“With the technology change in drilling in there, you can do this; it’s not a really invasive approach that they are talking about doing.”
A new report tracks the amount of oil and gas drilling that’s gone on over the past 10 years in different counties across the Rocky Mountains.
Julia Haggerty, one of the authors of the report, says the pace and scale of drilling has a profound effect on local communities – not only during the height of a boom, but in the time right before and after. Haggerty says more research needs to be done on how counties rebound after a bust.