Report Details Highly Mobile Oil, Gas Economy

Aaron Flint posted on June 22, 2011 08:21 :: 1139 Views

A new report details a highly a mobile oil and gas economy in the Rocky Mountain West and Upper Great Plains States, and shows how drilling has returned to pre-recession levels . 

I spoke with Julia Haggerty, a policy analyst with Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, Montana, after seeing this blurb in Politico’s “Morning Energy” 

DRILLING ASCENDANT – High energy prices and new extraction advances have boosted oil and natural gas drilling to pre-recession levels, according to a new report from Headwaters Economics:

As for Montana specifically, Haggarty told me that Montana’s highest rig count was back in 2005 at 28 rigs.  Montana’s rig count hit 0 in 2009 and is now at 12.

More, from the report:

Another striking trend is the expansion of rig activity in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, trends that underlie the strength of price in driving the location of drilling activity. While both states are undergoing a boom, the rig count in North Dakota—where the target is oil—has quadrupled since mid-2009. In Pennsylvania—where the target is shale gas—the rig count has doubled since mid-2009. As of May 27, 2011, North Dakota claimed nine percent of all land-based rig activity in the U.S., Pennsylvania six

The level of drilling activity is a good indicator of trends in oil and gas employment. The location and pace of drilling is sensitive to a variety of factors, primarily price but also technology and the discovery of new resource plays. Drilling activity can shift quickly between geographies and resource types. The mobility of drilling activity helps to explain why energy-producing areas can be so hard hit by boom-bust cycles of energy development.

Click below to listen to interview clip with Haggarty:

Click to Listen

Meanwhile, when it comes to carbon dioxide regulations, who really won the latest round at the US Supreme Court?  Environmentalists see a “silver lining” in the Court’s decision, while Steve Milloy with breaks down all the angles. 

First, this from “Morning Energy:”

SILVER LINING – The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled against states and environmental groups seeking the right to sue power plants over their greenhouse gas emissions, but the green movement is still finding plenty to smile about: For the second time in four years, the high court said the EPA has the ability to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, a big win for the Obama administration that puts the spotlight back on congressional Republicans who have been fighting EPA regulations this year. Robin Bravender has the details for Pros:

Steve Milloy from had this:

Although SCOTUS got the right answer in AEP v. Connecticut, it reached it in an unfortunate and ironic manner — i.e., by validating Massachusetts v. EPA, the decision allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs). And this validation was done on a unanimous basis (save Sotomayor’s recusal). It should be noted, however, that Justices Alito and Thomas added a concurring opinion that seems to offer only limited support for Massachusetts v. EPA as an expediency in this particular case.

In our favor, SCOTUS did say that the EPA could refuse to regulate GHGs as long as the refusal is not arbitrary and capricious. So skeptics will take today’s win and work toward the next (non-Obama) administration rolling back the endangerment finding.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Enviros Score Big in Climate Settlement WIth Feds

In a settlement with conservation groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to give final approval next year of plans to address haze in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota.

The federal government also agreed to pay $23,545 to WildEarth Guardians for litigation costs.

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