oil and gas

Stephanie Joyce

Industry groups are already fighting back against a federal rule released Tuesday that would curb methane emissions from oil and gas wells on public lands.

The rule would restrict venting and flaring from roughly 100,000 wells and the Department of the Interior says it could cut oil and gas emissions by up to 35...

Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump promised sweeping reforms to the energy industry during the campaign. He vowed to bring back coal jobs, boost domestic oil and gas production, back out of international climate change agreements and gut the Environmental Protection Agency. Essentially, he vowed to undo most of what the Obama administration has done in the last eight years, and take the country in the opposite direction on energy and climate. Now, Trump is the president-elect. Wyoming Public Radio’s energy...

Stephanie Joyce

For months, it has been eerily quiet at the Midwest School. Other than the skittering of leaves across the cordoned-off parking lot, the only sounds are the clink of the flagpole and the dog barking across the street. It’s been this way since May, when health officials closed down the 120-student K-12 school after detecting dangerous levels of toxic gases inside. Midwest, population 418, sits in the middle of the Salt Creek oil field, the oldest in Wyoming. It was quickly clear the gases were...

Surprises In Oil And Gas Campaign Spending

Nov 4, 2016
Jordan Wirfs-Brock / Inside Energy

This chart shows oil/gas and coal company contributions to presidential candidate committees. It includes contributions from company PACs as well as individuals employed by the companies who donated at least $200. While coal interests have retained their strong preference for Republican presidential candidates, oil and gas interests have shifted their spending to Clinton in the general election. With a month to go before the election, oil and gas interests had spent roughly the same amount on...

Stephanie Joyce

Here’s a simple recipe for ozone: mix hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide chemical compounds in the air, and add sunlight. “The sun comes out and cooks this mixture and the outcome of that is ozone,” said Steve Brown, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder. Ozone is a problem Colorado has had for a long time. The state has been out of compliance with federal ozone limits for nearly a decade. To make matters worse ...

Stephanie Joyce

Some states are better positioned than others to weather the downturn in coal, oil, and gas according to data from the credit ratings agency Moody’s. Analysts considered factors like economic diversification, budget structure, and how much savings states set aside. Moody’s sees Colorado, for example, as fairly insulated because severance taxes make up a small part of the state’s total tax revenue. Local governments, however, are more exposed because they receive a relatively large share of...

Wikipedia

The oil and gas company Battalion Resources filed for bankruptcy on September 8. The filing included three of its subsidiaries, including Storm Cat Energy, which owns hundreds of oil and gas wells in Wyoming. Court documents show the company has $83 million in debt and only brought in $8.4 million in revenue in 2015. Among those debts are millions of dollars owed to Wyoming counties and agencies. The company owes Campbell County $3 million, Sheridan County nearly $4.4 million and the State of...

A federal agency says elevated levels of carbon dioxide and benzene at the Midwest School are an “urgent public health hazard.” Administrators shut down the school at the end of May, after students and staff reported smelling gas-like odors. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says air samples from May 26, two days after the school shut down, contained levels of benzene 200 times what is considered safe and carbon dioxide levels 26 times the recommended limit. Exposure to...

Trevor Houser of the Rhodium Group

Hillary Clinton’s energy strategy would move the U.S. away from fossil fuels. But one of her closest energy advisers has roots in a top fossil fuel producing state. Trevor Houser grew up in coal-rich Wyoming. He's a partner with the Rhodium Group and leads the firm's energy and natural resources practice. While Clinton’s plan does include $30 billion dollars for struggling coal communities, the emphasis is on going green by installing half a billion solar panels and putting more fuel...

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development. If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it. Donald Trump delivered his first major speech on U.S. energy policy at a petroleum conference in the capital city of one the country’s...

Stephanie Joyce

The Legislature's Joint Minerals Committee will consider a proposal at its meeting this week to create a state-backed insurance pool that small oil and gas operators could tap into for their cleanup obligations.

Gillette-based M&K Oil is behind the proposal. In a memo ,...

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Chris Goodwin's pitch opens with the same question every time: “Are you a Colorado voter?” He has been wandering the streets of Boulder, asking that question over and over. Many people say no – or ignore him – until he brings up the f-word: fracking. In recent weeks, millions of dollars have been spent on a fight over two ballot initiatives in Colorado. Taken together, initiatives 75 and 78 would seriously restrict oil and gas development in the state. The fight is on between those for, and...

Stephanie Joyce

Officials have identified the oil and gas worker who died at a well site near Midwest, Wyoming Thursday as 28-year-old Dennis McColloch, of Casper. According to the Natrona County sheriff’s department, McColloch fell from approximately 80 feet while working on the rig. The county coroner says he appears to have died instantly. Initial reports that McColloch had been crushed by falling equipment were inaccurate.

McCulloch worked for C L Well Service, based out of Rawlins. The well...

Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons

A U.S. District Court judge in Wyoming has struck down a rule that would have governed fracking on federal lands. Judge Scott Skavdahl concluded in his ruling that the Department of the Interior does not have the authority to regulate fracking and called the attempt to do so an “end-run” around the 2005 Energy Policy Act. That law explicitly exempted fracking from regulation by another arm of the executive branch—the Environmental Protection Agency. Among other things, the Interior rule would...

Mysterious Gas Leak In A Town Surrounded By Wells

Jun 14, 2016
Leigh Paterson

The search is continuing for the source of a gas leak that shut down a school in Midwest, Wyoming at the end of May. Fleur de Lis, the company that operates the neighboring Salt Creek oil field, says it has plugged one leaking well near the school, worked on another six and is continuing to monitor as many as 30 other wells in the area. The Salt Creek field is the oldest in Wyoming, and an Inside Energy analysis of the state oil and gas database shows there are more than 700 active and...

An energy company has not yet found the source of a gas-like odor that shut down a school near its oil field in Natrona County. Students and staff at Midwest School first smelled what they thought was natural gas last Wednesday. The school was closed on Thursday. Fleur De Lis Energy, which runs the nearby Salt Creek oil field, says employees have been working around the clock trying to find the source of the smell since. “They’ve been up there with the crews working and testing and trying to...

statemuseum.nd.gov

It’s hard not to notice the influence of the oil and coal industries at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. Inside the Continental Resources-sponsored Inspiration Gallery you can learn about coal reclamation, touch the Bakken shale, and guess which everyday products are made of petroleum. You can buy oil-themed chocolate at the gift store. Fossil fuel companies are some of the largest donors to this museum, which reopened in 2014 after a $52 million expansion and renovation. That’s...

Taylor Brorby and Ice Cube Press

Fracking: the technique for boosting oil and gas production has been around for decades, but chances are you didn’t hear about it until recently. In just a few short years, the fracking boom has transformed communities across the country… and elicited plenty of emotions from all sides. Fracture is a new book of essays, poems and short fiction on the topic of fracking. Pieces from more than two dozen writers address everything from the history of the Cushing oil hub and the geological origins...

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new rule this week that aims to better protect workers from something called silica dust. It replaces standards that were more than 40 years old. Silica is found in materials like sand, granite, and concrete. Breathing in too much of the dust that results from working with these materials can cause a lung disease called Silicosis and lung cancer. The Department of Labor estimates that around 2.3 million workers like sandblasters and brick makers are...

SCOTT DETROW / STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

The U.S. oil and gas industry was shocked on Wednesday by the sudden death of one of its most influential executives . Aubrey McClendon was killed after driving his SUV into a concrete embankment, a day after being indicted on bid rigging and price fixing charges. He was the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, a major producer now floundering under low oil and gas prices. Chesapeake Energy is not alone. Watching reports from the oilfield these days, it’s one long string of bad news. Companies...

Emily Guerin

Dustin Bergsing was a young, fit, bull rider from Montana. On a cold night in January 2012, he climbed to the catwalk on top of a 20 foot tall crude oil storage tank on an oil well pad in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield . His job was to pop open the small hatch on top and drop a rope inside to measure the level of oil. Just after midnight, he was found dead by a co-worker, slumped on the catwalk. At first, people suspected Dustin had died from inhaling a gas called hydrogen sulfide, a known...

Dan Boyce

Bruce Friest asks himself if he would have done it again, knowing what he knows now – move from Minnesota to start a small trucking company during the peak of North Dakota’s oil boom. “I don’t know if I would, I really don’t,” he said. “It was hard on me, it was hard on my kids, I was married and my marriage fell apart.” A couple of years ago, his trucks were sub-contracted to haul oil by a larger trucking company. Then that company, Montana Midwest, went bankrupt, still owing Friest more...

With Industry In Turmoil, Energy Players Meet In Houston

Feb 26, 2016
IHS Energy/CERAWeek

The energy industry is in turmoil. Coal and oil prices are way down, there are big changes to environmental regulations in the works, and more and more renewables are coming online. Some of the biggest players in the industry met at a conference in Houston this week to weigh in on what it all means. Inside Energy reporter Jordan Wirfs-Brock was at IHS CERAWeek. She spoke to Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce from the conference about the biggest issues on the table for the energy industry...

Earthworks

The oil and gas industry may be emitting more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than previously thought, according to new estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane can leak from wells, pipelines and compressor stations, among other things. At an energy conference in Houston, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said the administration is not planning to turn a blind eye to the oil and gas industry's increased contributions. "The data confirm that we can and must do more on...

In a $1.9 billion deal, Black Hills Energy has purchased SourceGas, expanding the company's utility operations in Wyoming. The companies agreed to the sale last summer, but were waiting on regulatory approval. Shirley Welte is the new vice president of operations for Black Hills Energy in Wyoming. She says the merger was a logical business move. "The combination fits our overall strategy to create value for our customers and shareholders by growing our business," says Welte. The acquisition...

Willow Belden

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has finalized new rules governing the flaring and venting of natural gas from oil wells. Natural gas is a byproduct of drilling for oil, but when there aren't pipelines or processing facilities nearby to collect the gas, companies sometimes end up burning it off. The new rules formalize requirements for operators to submit reports so that the state can keep track of how much gas is being flared. "I think that there previously have been some gaps...

Stephanie Joyce

It came as news to Jeff Parsek that state records show there is an abandoned oil and gas well in his driveway. Parsek lives in a large, brown ranch house, right across the street from an elementary school, in a subdivision on the south side of Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s a nice neighborhood, with the new feeling of many Colorado suburbs. When Parsek bought the house in 2004, he didn’t ask about oil and gas wells on the property. “I wouldn’t have even thought to research that,” he said. Other...

With energy prices in a slump, oil and gas employment in Wyoming was down 30% in December from the same time in 2014, to just under 13,000 jobs. Economist David Bullard says oil prices have nose dived over the last year. “So it's not surprising to see job loss in oil and gas here in Wyoming," Bullard says. Oil prices are currently hovering around $30 a barrel.

Stephanie Joyce

Companies are shutting down pipelines in the Midwest in response to record flooding.

There are dozens of oil and gas pipelines running under the Mississippi River. Several companies have proactively shut down those lines, in order to avoid accidents.

Spectra Energy has shut down its Platte pipeline, which runs from Guernsey, Wyoming to Wood River Illinois.
"Obviously there will be some delays in deliveries," said Spectra spokesman Devon Hotzel. "But any...

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has concluded groundwater contamination in the Pavillion area is unlikely to have been caused by hydraulic fracturing. Pavillion emerged at the center of the national debate over fracking back in 2011 when the Environmental Protection Agency released a report that showed elevated levels of various petroleum compounds and methane in some area water wells. The agency eventually handed the investigation over to the state and the DEQ re-sampled...

Pages