Please Note: Due to NAPE Summit there will be no Weekly Report next Monday. The next report will be distributed on February 19.
FEDERAL - REGULATORY: BLM Land Use Planning and Lease Parcel Reviews. On January 31, the BLM published its Instruction Memorandum (IM 2018-034), Updating Oil and Gas Leasing Reform – Land Use Planning and Lease Parcel Reviews, which sets out the policy of the BLM to "simplify and streamline the leasing process to alleviate unnecessary impediments and burdens, to expedite the offering of lands for lease, and to ensure quarterly oil and gas lease sales are consistently held in accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act", among other directives related to resource development on federal lands. Hailed by the oil and gas industry, the move also eliminates the Obama-era policy of requiring Master Lease Plans that called for more onerous and oftentimes limiting environmental reviews. Read more.STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Local Government – Colorado. On January 31, Rep. Perry Buck (R) introduced HB 1150. The bill specifies that a local government that bans hydraulic fracturing of an oil and gas well is liable to the mineral interest owner for the value of the mineral interest and that a local government that enacts a moratorium on oil and gas activities shall compensate oil and gas operators, mineral lessees, and royalty owners for all costs, damages, and losses of fair market value associated with the moratorium. Read more.
STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Cotenancy – West Virginia. On January 24, HB 4268, the Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act and Unknown and Unlocatable Interest Owners Act, was introduced by primary sponsor, Del. Bill Anderson (R). After passing the House Energy Committee on January 31, the bill is now under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow horizontal drilling into a natural gas reserve if 75 percent of the rights holders agree. Under current law, 100 percent of the rights holders have to agree. According to the sponsoring statement, "The purpose of this bill is to provide an exception to waste and trespass for certain oil and natural gas use and development to encourage the efficient economic development of oil and natural gas resources. The bill provides that use and development of oil and gas mineral property that has been consented to by three fourths of the oil and gas owners is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass. The bill provides that cotenants and operators are not liable for damages for the development and use of the property if they pay nonconsenting cotenants in accordance with either of two defined options and report and reserve interests for unknown or unlocatable tenants. The bill provides a method to determine certain leasehold and contractual terms, including review and determination by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in limited circumstances." "Co-tenancy will be a piece of legislation that will probably pass this year," said Sen. Glenn Jeffries (D), a member of the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee. "All parties involved have come to an agreement that we can get that piece of legislation passed." Read more.INDUSTRY NEWS: In survey, oil and gas professionals express optimism for 2018. Of 813 senior-level industry professionals surveyed for 2018 by market researcher DNV GL, 63 percent said they are confident about growth in the industry, nearly double the 32 percent from the same survey last year. For example, 36 percent of senior oil and gas professionals expect to increase spending on research and development, and innovation, in 2018. DNV GL's annual report provides a snapshot of industry confidence, priorities, and concerns for the year ahead. Read more.