Compact Comments

IOGCC represented at Congressional Quarterly Summit

Dan Seamount, IOGCC associate representative for Alaska, recently participated in the Congressional Quarterly Summit on Energy Exploration: The Economy, Environment and National Security. He spoke to the group about energy production in the United States and discussed the IOGCC's mission.

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, and Johnnie Burton, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, among others, also attended the summit in Anchorage, Alaska.

IOGCC promotes Carbon Capture and Geological Storage Regulatory Task Force

Kevin Bliss, IOGCC's Washington, D.C., representative, recently spoke to the Legal and Regulatory Issues session at the G8-IEA-CSLF Workshop on Carbon Capture and Storage in San Francisco.

He gave a brief overview of the IOGCC and its Carbon Capture and Geological Storage Regulatory Task Force. He presented a summary of the work completed in Phase I of the task force and an overview of the planned work of the Phase II Task Force.

The overall goal of the task force is to develop model statutes and regulations to enable states to regulate carbon capture and storage in a manner that is safe for human health and the environment.

IOGCC Annual Meeting fast approaching

The 2006 IOGCC Annual Meeting is drawing closer. Online registration is available by going to the IOGCC Web site. Don't forget to register by Sept. 22 to receive the special early registration price.

Confirmed speakers at the General Session include Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, IOGCC Chairman; North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, IOGCC Chairman-elect; Don Likwartz, IOGCC vice chairman; Commissioner Victor Carrillo, IOGCC second vice chairman; U.S. Congressman Joe Barton, Texas; Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst; and Minister-Counsellor Murray Smith, Alberta Canadian Embassy.

"Tune in to Energy Issues" and join us in Austin Oct. 15-17!

National Inspector Certification Program awards certificates

Eight Oklahomans recently were awarded certificates for completing the IOGCC's National Inspector Certification Program.

Gerry Baker, IOGCC associate executive director, and Amy Wright, IOGCC federal projects manager, attended an awards luncheon in their honor in Oklahoma City Aug. 23. Wayne Wright, field operations manager at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, presented the honorees their certificates on behalf of the IOGCC.

The National Inspector Certification Program establishes national standards for state regulatory agencies to certify personnel responsible for inspecting oil and gas wells. It was established by the IOGCC in 2000. For more information on the program log on to the IOGCC Web site or contact IOGCC Web site or contact Amy Wright.

On the Hill

By Kevin Bliss

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are back from the August recess with limited time to complete work on many bills, before target adjournment on Sept. 29.

High on the to-do list is reconciling differences between House and Senate versions of legislation addressing offshore drilling. The Senate and House bills are very different, with the House bill being significantly more expansive than the Senate bill.

The Senate bill, S. 3711, entitled the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, opens up 8.3 million acres in the Eastern and Central Gulf of Mexico to exploration and development, as well as approximately 2.5 million acres under Lease Sale 181 and additional areas south of Lease 181.

The House bill, HR 4761, the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006, would end the almost 25 year federal prohibition on offshore drilling in many U.S. coastal areas and give states the power to opt out of production up to 200 miles offshore for both oil and natural gas. A key feature of the House bill is that it would share revenue with coastal states and fund a number of programs, including a program to maintain and encourage the growth of the energy and minerals workforce.

While the IOGCC does not have a resolution on offshore development, IOGCC Resolution No. 05.095 urges Congress “to take action that encourages institutions of higher learning to increase both the number of students in programs and scholarships available for petroleum-specific degrees.” Thus our resolution is broadly supportive of the workforce provision of the House bill.

If the House and Senate are to reconcile their respective bills, a Conference Committee will need to convene very soon. The conferees will have their work cut out for them, as the bills are substantially different and there have been indications the Senate may be unwilling to compromise.

Concerning appropriations bills, it still appears that not much will happen until after the November elections. Only one bill has passed the Senate [Homeland Security] and it hasn’t been conferenced. This means the House and Senate will have to reconvene after the November elections with the potential of a very different dynamic if the Republicans lose control of the Senate or the House, or both.

Briefs

  • The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board recently celebrated the clean up of its 7,000th abandonded well site in Oklahoma. The OERB is funded voluntarily by oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners through a one-tenth of one percent assesment on the sale of oil and natural gas. The board cleans up and restores abandoned well sites, and educates students about the energy industry.

  • Ronald Kitchens has retired from the Texas Railroad Commission. Richard Varela is now the interim Executive Director.

  • The American Oil & Gas Historical Society works to preserve the history of U.S. oil and natural gas exploration and production by "providing advocacy and service for organizations that work to preserve that history through exhibition, material preservation – and especially educational programming." Check out the society's Web site for more information.

  • The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) will post a strong year of collections from fines and penalties this year, according to an Aug. 17 RRC press release. The fines and penalties are assessed against oil and gas operators for violation of Commission rules. With assistance from the Office of the Attorney General, the Commission's collections this year were on track to be more than $1.7 million.

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