Count Harold Hamm, the billionaire CEO of Continental Resources, as one oil man not worried about the plunge in crude prices to $82 a barrel.
“Notice how it happened all at once,” he says. "The suddenness of oil’s plunge followed the Saudi assertion a week ago that oil was in oversupply, they could live with $80 oil for a couple years, and didn’t plan to cut their own output."
Empty talk, not market fundamentals, moved the price, says Hamm. "It’s not supply-demand related.” On the contrary, “this is one country, the Saudis, attempting to dictate world oil prices.” [more]
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs applauded yesterday’s ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that struck down a lawsuit brought by environmental groups. Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity had asked the court to require the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reconsider its June 2012 decision not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL) as endangered.
The decision comes as a huge victory for the Texas Conservation Plan (TCP) for the DSL. Comptroller Combs was instrumental in the development of the TCP for the DSL. Combs worked with a broad group of stakeholders, including private property owners, oil and gas companies, agricultural interests, biologists, and state and federal agencies, to provide protection for the DSL while allowing continued economic activity in the Permian Basin, a region that accounts for 57 percent of Texas’ total crude oil production and supports 47,000 oil and gas-related jobs. [more]
Washington Post Editorial
One of the economy’s good-news stories is the oil boom, a derivative of the natural gas boom. When the drilling techniques used to tap vast new reservoirs of natural gas were applied to oil, they yielded similarly astounding results. Since 2008, US oil production has increased from 5 million barrels a day (mbd) to 8.3 mbd in 2014. The US Energy Information Administration says it could go to 9.6 mbd by 2019.
By all logic, we should be working to sustain the boom. We aren’t, and therein lies a classic example of how good policy is held hostage to bad politics and public relations. What would promote continued exploration is a lifting of the current US ban on exporting crude oil. Let producers sell into the world market. But that seems (wrongly) an unjustified giveaway to industry. The public perceptions are atrocious. [more]
Wall Street Journal
Executives from the top oil companies in the Bakken Shale told state regulators that their crude is safe to transport by train, opposing possible requirements that they make the oil less volatile before shipping it.
The industry pushback comes as North Dakota considers new rules on treating crude to stabilize it, spurred by growing public concern about the safety of oil-laden trains crisscrossing the country. Several oil trains have derailed and produced fireballs since 2013. [more]
Law360, New York
An Oklahoma federal judge on Monday denied the US Department of the Interior’s bid to move an oil and gas group’s suit accusing it of using “sue-and-settle” tactics to secretly change endangered species regulations, saying it failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that relevant circumstances “strongly” favor transfer.
The judge also said consideration of the “interest of justice” does not compel transfer of the case. He said there is no serious risk that proceeding in the state of Oklahoma and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance’s chosen venue risks an adjudication that would be inconsistent with any prior adjudication by the DC District Court, where the government wanted the case to move. [more, paywall]