Compact Comments

Tune in to energy issues

IOGCC Annual Meeting information is available on the IOGCC Web site. The meeting is Oct. 15-17, 2006, in Austin, Texas. "Tune in to energy issues" and join IOGCC member state governors, congressional leaders and national energy experts in a variety of informative and interactive sessions.

Registration is also now available online.

Key speakers this year include U.S. Congressman Joe Barton, Alberta Canadian Embassy Minister-Counsellor Murray Smith, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, IOGCC Chairman Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, IOGCC Incoming Chairman Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota and more.

For more information on the hotel, tours and a tentative agenda, please visit the IOGCC Events page.

IOGCC provides performance measurement assistance in Utah

IOGCC provided performance measurement assistance to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.

A total of 19 participants from Utah's program participated the week of July 10, 2006. The project set strategic goals for each program within the division and identified how to measure whether they were achieving those goals.

The same assistance was provided previously to the oil and gas programs in Michigan and Oklahoma.

Report shows hurricanes' damages

A recently released federal report shows last year's Hurricanes Katrina and Rita delivered considerable damage to the natural gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Department of Energy, other federal agencies and natural gas industry personnel coordinated to track disrupted natural gas flows and possible bypasses, along with storm recovery efforts.

The report is available online at the Department of Energy's Web site.

Web watch

The IOGCC's recently revamped Web site provides many features intended to inform those interested in the organization.

One such feature is the new member kit, available here.

This page features member benefits, tips for writing letters and "what you need to know" about the IOGCC. The kit is a guide to help states carry out the mission of the IOGCC by promoting the conservation and efficient recovery of our nation's resources.

On the hill

By Kevin Bliss

Prior to adjourning for the August recess, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate vote sets up a conference with the U.S. House which, as reported in last month’s Compact Comments, passed its own version of an offshore bill that is much more expansive than the Senate bill.

The Senate bill, S. 3711, entitled the “Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act,” was the result of a compromise among senators offering protection to Florida and increased revenue sharing for the coastal states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The vote (71-25) makes 8.3 million acres in the Eastern and Central Gulf of Mexico available to exploration and development, and opens approximately 2.5 million acres under Lease Sale 181 and additional areas south of Lease 181. Under the Senate bill, drilling would be barred within 125 miles of the Florida coast through 2022.

The U.S. House of Representative's bill, HR 4761, the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006, passed in late June by a margin of 232-187, would end the almost 25-year federal prohibition on offshore drilling in many U.S. coastal areas. The House bill would give states the power to opt out of production up to 200 miles offshore for both oil and natural gas. It also would share revenue with coastal states and fund a number of other programs, including a program to maintain and encourage the growth of the energy and minerals workforce.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici has said he expects any bill coming out of conference to look more like the Senate bill than the House bill. There is indication that Senate leadership promised this to Senators in return for their support of the bill. Sen. Domenici also indicated that he viewed the Senate bill as a first step in eliminating the offshore moratorium. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo responded to passage of the Senate bill with the following statement. “Both the House and the Senate are now in agreement: America must produce more deep sea energy to provide relief for consumers. The only remaining question is, just how much relief will Congress grant? I look forward to hearing from my colleagues in the House about how they wish to proceed after they have heard from their voters about energy prices during August.”

So, the question is whether negotiators will be able to craft a compromise acceptable to both the House and the Senate. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Congressman Devin Nunes (California) and 22 colleagues in the U.S. House introduced HR. 5890, the American-Made Energy Freedom Act of 2006. The bipartisan bill would create the “Energy Freedom Trust Fund,” which would take an estimated $40 billion in federal royalties and invest the monies in renewable energy technologies. This represents an effort to increase the coalition of groups willing to support opening ANWR for development.

Finally, concerning appropriations, the consensus view is not much will happen until after the November elections. It also remains anyone’s guess whether the Republicans will maintain control of the House and the Senate. It promises to be a very interesting fall.

Briefs

  • Bill Sydow, IOGCC official representative for Nebraska, recently gave a four-part radio interview on "Who controls the price of oil and gas?" on the "What's Up" radio program. Listen to the interviews.

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently swore in three new commissioners, bringing it to full strength for the first time in more than a year. The new commissioners are Marc Spitzer of Arizona, Philip Moeller of Washington, DC and John Wellinghoff of Nevada.

  • Dan Seamount, Alaska's associate representative to the IOGCC, recently wrote and submitted an Opinion-Editorial for the Wall Street Journal regarding the NACA Untapped Potential report on offshore drilling. The IOGCC would like to thank Seamount for taking the time to contribute.

  • The Wyoming State Geological Survey has a new publication available. "A New Approach to Exploring for Anomalously Pressured Gas Accumulations: The Key to Unlocking Huge, Unconventional Gas Resources" costs $35 and is available by calling (307) 766-2286 x224 or by email.

  • The North American Coal Bed Methane Forum, Inc. will hold its Fall Session Sept. 19-20, 2006, at Lakeview Conference Center near Morgantown, WV. For more information, contact Ihor Havryluk at (412) 798-1391 or Dr. Kashi Aminian at (304) 293-7682 x3406.

  • Do you have a story idea for Compact Comments? Please send it to Kristen Marquez, IOGCC communications associate.
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