FEDERAL - LEGISLATIVE: H.R. 1799 – Paycheck Protection Program Extension. On March 30, President Biden signed H.R. 1799, known as the PPP Extension Act of 2021, into law. The Act extends the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to May 31 as it was set to expire on March 31. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate and at the bill signing Biden declared the law a "bipartisan accomplishment." As reported previously, the PPP, created under the Trump administration, offers forgivable loans to businesses, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is administered by the Small Business Administration (see program information here) which will now continue processing applications through the end of June for those applications submitted by June 1, 2021. Read more.
FEDERAL - JUDICIAL: Federal Oil and Gas Leasing – Wyoming. On March 24, Wyoming sued the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming over its decision to temporarily pause new leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development. In Wyoming v. U.S. Department of Interior (Case No. 0:21-cv-00056), the state "alleges Biden's order violated federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Mineral Leasing Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act." The suit asks the court to review the "de facto moratorium on all federal oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming and across the nation" and stop the Interior Secretary from implementing any halt on federal oil and gas leasing. "Wyoming is fighting back against President Biden's war on American energy workers," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), commenting on the lawsuit. Wyoming's governor "is taking action to combat the Biden administration's illegal ban on oil and gas lease sales on federal land." Read more.
INDUSTRY NEWS: Energy analyst sees two years of growth in drilling activity. On March 23, Rystad Energy analysts forecasted that "After a challenging 2020, oil and gas demand recovery-supported by COVID-19 vaccination efforts and OPEC+ supply cuts-is proving good for drilling activity. Rystad Energy expects around 54,000 wells to be drilled worldwide in 2021, a 12% increase from 2020 levels. In 2022 drilling is set to increase even more, by another 19% year-on-year to about 64,500 wells, though activity will still fall short of the 73,000 wells drilled in 2019." Read more.