Energy Speculators Jump on Chance to Lease Public Land at Bargain Rates

Source: NYTimes.com

By Eric Lipton and Hiroko Tabuchi

The Trump administration’s policy of encouraging more oil and gas drilling combined with a loophole in federal rules has been a boon for investors with a taste for gambling — and has drawn criticism that it is a bad deal for taxpayers...

MILES CITY, Mont. — Robert B. Price, the chief executive of a London-based oil and gas company, came up with a creative tactic to grab bargain drilling rights to a sprawling piece of federal land here in eastern Montana — each acre for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

He first asked the Interior Department to auction off rights to as much as 200,000 acres in Montana through a process that allows energy companies to identify the public land they would like to develop. But when the auction took place last December, Mr. Price sat on the sidelines and waited for the clock to run out — betting no one else would bid.

His gamble worked. With no other bidders showing interest, the government allowed him to secure drilling rights on nearly 67,000 acres east of Miles City in a special noncompetitive sale the very next day. His cost: just $1.50 an acre a year in rent, compared with the more than $100-an-acre average paid by bidders, on top of rent, in competitive auctions in Montana in the final four years of the Obama administration…(CONTINUED)

6 comments

  1. Lawsuit challenges Trump administration for gutting methane waste rule
    Oct 1, 2018
    News Release, Reducing Methane Pollution on Public Lands: BLM/EPA Waste Rules

    A broad coalition of conservation and citizens’ groups sued the Trump administration late Friday to challenge the Bureau of Land Management for rescinding most provisions of its 2016 methane waste rule.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, notes Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s BLM illegally rescinded the rule, which requires oil and gas companies operating on public lands to take reasonable measures to prevent the waste of publicly owned natural gas. Such measures significantly reduce pollution from methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas.

    “Oil companies operating in our national parks, forests, and other public lands should be held to the highest environmental and health standards,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch. “The Trump administration’s rollback gives the oil industry a free pass to continue polluting our air, compromising our climate, and needlessly leaking and wasting a shared public resource.”
    The Western Environmental Law Center represents the Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, Earthworks, Los Padres ForestWatch, Montana Environmental Information Center, San Juan Citizens Alliance, WildEarth Guardians, Wilderness Workshop, and Wyoming Outdoor Council in today’s litigation. Clean Air Task Force represents the National Wildlife Federation.

    https://westernlaw.org/lawsuit-challenges-trump-administration-gutting-methane-waste-rule/

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  2. Listed In London, Drilling In Denver: Meet The Oilman Who Covets Barrels As Much As Technology
    Gaurav Sharma
    Sep 17, 2018

    Meet Robert Price, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Highlands Natural Resources (LON:HNR), a Denver headquartered exploration and production (E&P) firm, that’s listed thousands of miles away on the London Stock Exchange of all places.

    “For us, that’s the spirit of collaboration in a competitive landscape. Halliburton wants us to be a success. These partnerships don’t happen overnight or that often. Paul [Mendell] and I have worked together for over 25 years, and Halliburton was one of our key partners in the Williston Basin. Best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior! Ourselves and Halliburton have been very good partners for decades.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gauravsharma/2018/09/17/listed-in-london-drilling-in-denver-meet-colorado-oilman-who-covets-barrels-as-much-as-technology/#641a89496b6d

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  3. RE-FRACKING?

    Listed In London, Drilling In Denver: Meet The Oilman Who Covets Barrels As Much As Technology (cont.)
    Gaurav Sharma
    Sep 17, 2018

    However, quite unlike many U.S. independents, the Colorado oilman says his company is not just about black gold. It also looking to propagate its proprietary technology – DT Ultravert (DTU) – a RE-FRACKIN and parent well protection solution, for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), which the company claims will help the wider industry achieve at least “a 15% increase in production.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gauravsharma/2018/09/17/listed-in-london-drilling-in-denver-meet-colorado-oilman-who-covets-barrels-as-much-as-technology/#641a89496b6d

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  4. The Hugely Profitable Bureau of Land Management
    John J. Cardillo

    My evolution from Bundy supporter to critic came after much research. That same research also shed a very bright light on the BLM, and only reinforced my initial perception of them as an unchecked out of control agency with far too much power and control of lands in the western United States.

    in fact, the BLM appears to be little more than hugely successful for-profit business wing of the Department of the Interior, masquerading as a conservation agency. Even worse, they employ nearly 300 armed agents to enforce their receivables and collections.
    And you thought the Internal Revenue Service was scary. At least we see the IRS coming. Enter the BLM, an agency most Americans know nothing about.
    An excerpt from the Interior’s semi-annual report to Congress for the period Oct. 1, 2012 – March 31, 2013 reads:
    “The Federal Government has effectively controlled the market for helium for almost a century through its position as a predominant supplier—BLM provides about 40 percent of the Nation’s helium and 30 percent of helium to the world market.”
    So basically, you can thank the BLM for four out of 10 of the balloons floating at your next birthday party. If that isn’t government reaching into your every day life in the sneakiest ways imaginable, I don’t know what is.

    https://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-hugely-profitable-bureau-of-land-management-3

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  5. OUR PUBLIC LANDS ARE BECOMING SUBJECT TO RAPE BY THIS ADMINISTRATION. LITERALLY. IT SEEMS THAT OUR QUALITY OF LIFE AS A WHOLE IS UP FOR GRABS SLOWLY… AND QUIETLY. THIS CONSUMMATE GRINDING FORCE IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS ONLY ADVANCES THIS, AND THE FUTURE DEVASTATION WILL ONLY LEAD TO THE POISONING OF OUR RIVERS, LAKES AND OUR LANDS.

    THIS UNTETHERED “BUSINESS AS USUAL” OPPORTUNITY MANTRA PROMOTED BY THIS “LOOPHOLE” SEEKING ADMINISTRATION THAT FOREGOES AND SCALDS EVERY ATTEMPT AT OVERSIGHT OF AMOUNTS TO A FREE-FOR-ALL AS IT PERTAINS TO THE HEALTH OF OUR NATURAL SOURCES THIS WILL, INEVITABLY, AFFECT EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN. MAKE NO MISTAKE, WHETHER WE RENT OR OWN OUR HOMES, OUR FUTURES WILL BE SUBJECTED TO THE POSSIBILITY FRACKED DRINKING WATER, AND THE CONSUMPTION OF PESTICIDES.

    PLEASE SHARE THIS WELL HIDDEN ARTICLE. EVERY DAY IS NOW A CHALLENGE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND TRUTH TO PREVAIL!

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    • If only we had Robert Mueller on the atrocities that the miserably corrupt DOI/BLM is getting away with each and every day! There needs to be an in-depth investigation and complete restructuring with REAL STEWARDSHIP and ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY… they cannot be allowed to surreptitiously continue this assault on US, our precious wild life and wild lands.

      The most heartbreaking of all these atrocities is the price that our Wild Mustangs are paying in blood and suffering for their stupidity and greed. By the multi-THOUSANDS!

      Like

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