The Office of State Lands and Investment’s board is considering extending the amount of time an operator is allowed to flare state-owned minerals before severance taxes are applied.
Investors and royalty owners itching to see initial production results from exploratory Niobrara oil wells may see a logjam of information released after the first of the year. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission supervisor Tom Doll explained that several wells have exceeded the agency’s 6-month confidentiality period but information about those wells remains out of the public's hands.
Dozens of landowners are voluntarily forgoing crop irrigation to divert their appropriated water to drilling companies instead. Rather than yield a few hundred dollars per acre-foot of water to grow and harvest hay, an irrigator may earn a few thousand dollars on that same acre-foot of water by selling it to drillers in the Niobrara oil play. But what happens if the oil industry is successful in tapping the Niobrara? Could crop irrigators and industry alike become dependent on this business relationship over five or 10 years of drilling, shifting the declining resource of water away from agriculture to an industrial use?