Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

County Drilling Moratorium Watered Down after Litigation Threats

By Bryant Furlow
SUN Staff Writer
Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:22 AM MDT
"Rio Arriba County’s moratorium on new oil and gas drilling is over.

After more than a year of delays, County commissioners approved the Oil and Gas Ordinance at a special meeting May 20 in Tierra Amarilla. The County had allowed the drilling moratorium to lapse May 18." More>>>>

Galisteo Basin boundaries set

Santa Fe New Mexican

May 30, 2009

"The state Oil Conservation Commission on Thursday approved the legal boundaries defining the Galisteo Basin. The division used the Office of the State Engineer's description to establish the boundaries, according to Mark Fesmire, Oil Conservation Division director.

"We're making a law so we can't just say the Galisteo Basin. We have to have a legal description," Fesmire said.

With the legal boundaries decided, the commission can complete a proposed set of special rules governing oil and gas drilling in the Galisteo Basin. Originally, the commission was going to look at special rules for all of Santa Fe County.

"The commission decided there wasn't sufficient evidence to extend the rules outside of the Galisteo Basin," Fesmire said.

Residents of the Galisteo Basin began pushing for special protections from oil and gas development in 2007 after a Texas company Tecton Energy, announced plans to drill there.

Fesmire said the primary concerns in the basin are to protect water supplies and extensive archaeological and cultural sites.

The commission will vote on the proposed special rules for the Galisteo Basin at their next meeting in mid-June. " Link>>>>

Drilling the Marcellus Shale Through the Halliburton Loophole

Will EPA Force a Review of Hydraulic Fraturing?

Weekend Edition
May 29-31, 2009


"Of all the threats posed by oil and gas companies seeking to drill in the Marcellus Shale—a geologic formation that stretches from Ohio to New York and may contain the largest supply of natural gas in the United States—hydraulic fracturing has been cited as perhaps the one we should be most worried about. That is understandable. We don’t know enough about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to judge whether the process will contaminate drinking water supplies, harm the environment, and have harmful effects on human health....

he Stringer report details a number of other cases of water contamination from faulty storage and the use of unlined pits. In New Mexico, Governor Richardson issued a moratorium on drilling in the Galisteo Basin after hundreds of cases of water contamination from unlined pits were reported. In Utah, a pit with 150,000 barrels of fracking fluids leaked and the toxic wastewater ended up on a nearby farm. A well in Bulette County, Wyoming was found to have levels of benzene 1,500 times what are considered safe." More>>>>

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Natural Gas Politics

From left, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Rep. John Salazar, Rep. Diana DeGette and Sen. Bob Casey are all trying to leave their mark on how natural gas is drilled in the U.S. (Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica)

Pro Publica

by Abrahm Lustgarten - May 26, 2009 8:14 am EDT
Tags: American Petroleum Institute, Dick Cheney, Drilling, Energy Policy Act, Hydraulic Fracturing, John Salazar, Natural Gas

"Four years after Vice President Dick Cheney spearheaded a massive energy bill that exempted natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws, Congress is having second thoughts about the environmental dangers posed by the burgeoning industry.

With growing evidence that the drilling can damage water supplies, Democratic leaders in Congress are circulating legislation that would repeal the extraordinary exemption and for the first time require companies to disclose all chemicals used in the key drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing.

The proposed legislation has already stirred sharp debate.

The energy industry has launched a broad effort in Washington to fend off this proposed tightening of federal oversight, lobbying members of Congress and publishing studies that highlight what it says are the dangers of regulation. In mid-May, the industry released a detailed report asserting that the changes in current law would cost jobs and slash tax revenues. A key advocate of past efforts to regulate gas drilling, Rep. John Salazar (D-CO), has declined to support the legislation, expressing concern about how it would affect the energy companies.

However, with a strengthened Democratic majority in Congress and the party's capture of the White House in last year's election, the fracturing legislation is viewed as having its best chance at passage in years. Its House sponsor, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), aims to attach a bill to a larger piece of legislation with broad support -- possibly a bill on climate change or a new energy policy measure – where it would be shielded from industry resistance. On the Senate side, according to congressional staff close to the effort, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has a companion bill ready to follow."


Monday, May 25, 2009

At $60 a barrel, oil industry still seeing layoffs

New Mexican / Associated Press

May 25, 4:02 AM EDT

Selected quotes:

"Oil company executives agree that oil in the $70-$75 per barrel range is needed to revive the industry, but a lack of credit capital, unstable oil prices and high service costs are all factors holding back the industry."

'"Natural gas is basically worthless at this point," said Johnny Gray, president of Marbob. "A lot of companies will use the natural gas to pay a lot of their overhead and they take the profits off the oils and drill new wells. If natural gas is worth nothing, then you have to take part of your oil profit and use it for overhead."'

"Fine said he believes federal regulations being discussed will help regulate the price, which should stabilize around $70 a barrel.

Bob Gallagher, president of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, said he, too, thinks $70 a barrel for oil is coming."


With Billions at Stake, Trying to Expand the Meaning of ‘Renewable Energy

Left: Leah Nash for The New York Times; top right: Sean Gallup/Getty Images; bottom right: Rick Smith/Associated Press

New York Times

Published: May 24, 2009

Question about the article: Is this a Joke?

"The meanings of “renewable” and “alternative” have been expanded in some states. Wind, flammable pellets made from garbage and the burning of waste coal have all been designated renewable energy, or an equivalent, in at least one state."Article>>>>

A quote from the article: "Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico and chairman of the Senate energy committee, said that if too many new technologies beyond core renewable sources like wind and solar were to be included, “the whole purpose of the renewable electricity standard is defeated.”

The goal, he said, is “to encourage the development of some of these newer technologies and bring the price down.”

He added, “If you throw in everything else” and call it renewable, “then your numbers get way out of whack."'

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cost of Wildcatting: $8 Million

Santa Fe Reporter

"When Tecton Energy President Bill Dirks announced his firm’s plans to drill for oil in the ecologically delicate Galisteo Basin, SFR ran a background check on Dirks and his previous company, Samson Canada.

SFR discovered Samson faced fierce opposition from residents of the Charlie Lake area of British Columbia. Dirks called it quits and sold the drilling rights to another firm, Terra Energy. Residents lamented to SFR that Terra Energy was far more aggressive and less environmentally responsible than Dirks.

Now history is repeating itself. In November 2008, again facing unwavering environmentalist opposition, Dirks announced that Tecton’s holdings in Canada and New Mexico were up for sale. This month, Tecton found a buyer for the Canadian operations: Terra Energy, again. The company will pay $8 million for the rights this month. So far, Tecton has reported no interested buyers in the Galisteo Basin" Link>>>>

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Ethanol Squeeze: Special Report


Fixing the biofuels market
"Will the ethanol industry get a second chance? It sure could use one. After the initial rush to build new plants, fueled by easy money and a federal mandate to ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil through the use of home-grown biofuels, the ethanol business is now scrambling to protect troubled investments and keep itself a relevant part of U.S. energy policy." More>>>>

A process operator displays a handful of corn at the GreenField Ethanol plant in Chatham, Ontario April 10, 2008.     REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA)Reuters

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Solar Quest on National Geograhic

From Deb Anderson:

"Split Estate is finished and I'll send you information soon about the latest news, and the launch of our website etc. We've just been selected to be in the Good Pitch at the SILVERDOCS Film Festival in Washington DC in June which will be significant.

Today, however I thought that the oil and gas folks should know about another project. Craig Coffman, another neighbor produced this documentary for National Geographic and I edited it. It is the first job I've had in a while that I wish everyone would see because the information in it is so interesting and important for our future. It is about Concentrated Solar Power - Large power plant sized solar technologies and what is the latest in this field. Really interesting stuff that we should all know but rarely hear about. Thanks for passing this on to all who would be interested. Its first airing is tomorrow."

Link about the National Geographic program>>>>

From link above, "Craig Coffman Productions is proud to announce its latest documentary production: Solar Quest, airing this Thursday, 7pm ET on the National Geographic Channel.

Solar Quest, part of a series exploring the world's biggest green projects, is a 1-hour program about the resurrection of one of the world's most effective - and forgotten - renewable technologies: Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)."

To see a clip from SOLAR QUEST please click here.

CSP Nevada Photo LR.jpgProducer/writer: Craig Coffman

Executive Producer (NG): John Mernit

Director of Photography: Rich Scholtz

Editor: Debra Anderson

Mix: Ron Sunsinger
Associate Producer: Kendra Gahagan