Hydrocarbon drilling in national parks

Here are the basics. There are 59 national parks operated by the National Park Service. 17 are owned both on the surface and subsurface by the Feds with 42 having split ownership with private subsurface ownership of mineral rights. 12 parks currently have oil/natural gas drilling already occurring on them, or more than one fourth of the 42 split rights parks.

The National Park Service has been ordered to review the rules as to what is necessary to drill for oil and gas within a park, or in certain circumstances next to a park, if the subterranean horizontal section includes NPS administered park lands.

There’s a lot of confusion about what exactly has changed. Right now it’s only a rule review.

23 thoughts on “Hydrocarbon drilling in national parks”

  1. Clinton and Obama tried to block exploration by naming national monuments usually against the wishes of the locals. This is a welcome development.

  2. It’s interesting for me, as I ran across a supposition a few days ago, that a lot of the present Russian/Saudi cooperation revolves around a plan to make American oil uneconomic.

    I’m not sure the sources have that right, but there are some indications that it may have some reality.

  3. Of course the Russians and the Saudis wanted to slow or stop US oil production. Who do you think funded all,the pipeline protests.?

  4. The Europeans have talked about this for long time – who do you think a decade ago or more was pushing money into the climate change/warming think tanks (which quickly moved into demonstrations)? I remember reading reviews or hearing on c-span a guy’s book (I think he was British) about the watermelon movement – green on the outside and red/communist/russian on the inside. Not that Americans didn’t have similar experiences. I loved the image which stuck, but it was a given at international conferences that there would be some groups like that. What we don’t talk about in this country may keep us from hearing about all the tin hatters, but I think we don’t hear some things that are, well, an important context.

  5. Book: https://www.amazon.com/Watermelons-Green-Movements-True-Colors-ebook/dp/B005BE0S02/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494212426&sr=8-1&keywords=watermelon+environmentalism
    Watermelons: Green Movements True Colors – James Delingrople
    Before the wall came down, my husband would host visiting scholars and set up several conferences on Czech/American music, literature, etc. You could count on someone at the back of the room in an ill-fitting suit; you could count on a certain hesitancy in the visiting scholars or singers, etc. Now the suits fit better and their real homes are on-line.

  6. “Who do you think funded all,the pipeline protests.?”

    Well apart from the Russians being responsible for everything, as we well know now. ;) It was largely Americans.

    The pipeline protests affect Canada more than anyone else, and have little to do with setting a price America cannot meet.

  7. PenGun – It’s interesting to see you fall out on admitting that there might be some Russian/Saudi cooperation on this subject. There are pipeline protests and fracking protests entirely internal to the USA. I suspect those get less coverage in the great white north so without some data to back it up, I’m a little dubious that the phenomenon affects Canada more than the USA.

  8. PenGun is starting to get less coherent in comments. If I cared, I would start to worry about him.

    little to do with setting a price America cannot meet.

    What in the world are you referring to ?

  9. Mike K – Think America as producer, not America as consumer and it looks clear enough. The Russians and the Saudis want to set oil prices low enough that US producers go broke and abandon the field to them. It’s not going to work but that does seem to be the strategy.

  10. OK. I guess he was referring to low prices to hurt American frackers but the sentence seems a bit obtuse.

    The pipelines also are important to the Bakken fields and no just Alberta tar sands,

  11. The Russians and the Saudis want to set oil prices low enough that US producers go broke and abandon the field to them. It’s not going to work but that does seem to be the strategy.

    It’s not going to work. Market incentives are driving the technological development that has significantly reduced domestic energy production costs in recent years. The USA has a comparative advantage in technology-driven arms races of this type. Probably the only obstacle to even lower prices would be another left-wing administration that blocked energy development by fiat as the Obama people did. But even Obama, who was relentlessly hostile to energy production, wasn’t able to stop the fracking revolution.

  12. Well there’s always nationalizing all private property and making energy production illegal; or nationalizing all drilling and refineries – just doing that seems to work (look at Venezuela). Jonathan, you really don’t have enough confidence in what another Obama-like administration could do

  13. Ginny Says:
    May 8th, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    SHHHH. . .

    You’ll get PenGun all excited. ;-)

  14. A bit of pedantry. It is true there are 59 National Parks, but only one of the 12 units with oil/gas drilling rights is a National Park, Cuyahoga NP (of the river that caught fire fame). The others are a variety of designated units owned and administered by the NPS such as National Monuments, Recreation Areas, etc. The NPS administers approximately 419 units. So, it’s really 12 of 419.

  15. It’s very funny really. The consortium, I don’t have a better word, arranged for prices to fall, after the Ukrainian putsch . Collusion, no how could one think such a thing. ;) This was to punish Russia for, well everything, and was supposed to, with the lavish sanctions, to bring her to her knees. You could almost see the Saudis balking at this as they went along.

    That Russia, who recently retired their national debt, would now work out a deal with the Saudis to make American oil uncompetitive, is typical of Putin who appears to be playing a form of Go while his opponents are just getting to the rudiments of chess.

  16. “PenGun is starting to get less coherent in comments. If I cared, I would start to worry about him.”

    I would worry about my own comprehension problems if I were you. ;)

  17. PenGun – If Putin truly is seeking to ally with the oil states to make the new fracking techniques uneconomic, he’s barely out of the tic tac toe stage when it comes to economics. Conventional fields are long lead in big gambles that really can’t be easily shut down to wait for price recovery. But fracking wells can be drilled but not hydraulically fractured and stay in that state indefinitely. Also individual fracking wells are all tiny plays that come and go quickly.

    These differences mean that american producers are more likely to play the swing producer role and keep the oil in the ground when it’s too low for them to pump. After all, they’ve got no state obligations to provide the bulk of the national budget and it’s easy to do. You just have to stop not fracture any more wells, building out your company’s fracklog if you’ve got existing rig leases, and wait. When prices go up, start fracturing, and quickly take advantage of the higher prices.

  18. TM, I don’t disagree with you, as I do understand that shale oil extraction is something one can do or not.

    I suspect that’s no secret, so I’m not sure what the actual purpose of continued low prices is for Russia. It does mean they have a steady market for their oil and a predictable income stream. They can bear this better than most, and the Saudis actually need money these days. So not fighting over agreed low prices is perhaps what they both want.

    The longer term effects are hard to predict, but stable low prices might help everyone, well consumers anyway.

  19. Russia and KSA are not driving oil prices at the moment is my conclusion, the US unwinding of the fracklog is putting a damper on otherwise rising oil price fundamentals.

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