Idaho jumpstarts oil, gas industry and leaps ahead with new regulation

Idaho, a state with, until recently, no active oil or gas wells, is officially a state with a new industry and top-tier regulations – putting it at a great advantage to move forward amid the fracking debate wracking the nation.

Idaho Drilling

In 2010, Bridge Resources and a partner company, drilled seven exploratory wells and found that natural gas was viable to be commercially produced in the state. However, the company ran into problems with some of its other properties in the North Sea and debts to several banks – halting the project.

Since then, Snake River Oil and Gas, a local oil and gas operator, and AM Idaho, a Texas-based exploration and production company, have joined forces to acquire most of the assets Bridge Resources left behind to move forward in creating a natural gas industry in the state – and conceivably more revenue, jobs and hype to the area.

Statutes and regulations had been in place and adapted from the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission in case oil and gas were found to be viable in the state, said Suzanne Budge, Idaho Petroleum Council Executive Director. But with a flurry of new activity coming to the area and active wells being permitted, Idaho’s Department of Lands began a thorough review of the bare-bones regulations and set about through the state’s rule-making process to redefine the oil and gas drilling process.

What seemingly should have been a quick process because the land leased for drilling will require conventional drilling to a 3,000 – 5,000 foot target, turned into a much larger affair thanks to the nation’s hype over hydraulic fracturing.

In the end, reading through the state’s regulations recently passed, the long process will end up giving the state a leg up in the regulations battle that most of the other states are going to have to start bracing for if the EPA gets its way soon.

The temporary regulations approved on April 19 include specifics such as:

– All drilling applications will be denied unless they include: source of water, trade name and content of fluids, type of proppants, estimated pump pressures, method for the storage and disposal of well treatment fluids, size and design of storage pits, expected fracture length both horizontal and vertical directions, groundwater protection plan and information specific to hydraulic fracturing.

– Certification by professional engineer that all aspects of the well construction, including suitability and integrity of the cement used to seal the well meet requirements

– Integrity testing of the well casing or casing-tubing prior to well stimulation, detailed information to the Commission for each stage of the well stimulation of chemical additives, compounds , concentrations or rates proposed to be mixed and injected including the additive type, chemical compound name and Chemical Abstracts Service

In turn, the applicant can request in writing confidentiality be provided for trade secrets to protect the specific solutions used in fracking.

From the regulations and code regarding oil and gas for several other states that I read through, Idaho is ahead of the industry as far as tackling the sticky subjects of hydraulic fracturing and water contamination.

How different is their regulation than in your state? What do you see changing in your state’s regulations in the future? Will it help or hurt?


Source: SherWare Blog

Phil Sherwood

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