In this week's news, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management do no have authority to regulate fracking on federal and tribal land; oilfield jobs are starting to show up again in the Bakken; and after three weeks of rising rig counts, the number went down again last week
A U.S. District Court judge in Wyoming ruled that the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management do not have authority to regulate fracking on federal and tribal land.
The BLM finalized the regulations on March 26. The rules addressed well construction, disposal of salty “flowback” water, and public disclosure of chemicals.
Judge Scott Skavdahl argued that a 2005 energy policy bill exempted fracking from federal regulation. The BLM, by issuing regulations, had “attempted to end-run” around the 2005 act, he said. Only Congress can give the executive branch the authority to regulate fracking and Congress has not granted that authority, he noted.
Some Oilfield Jobs Starting to Come Back
Some oilfield companies that laid off workers in the Bakken are hiring again, mainly for jobs related to fracking, according to The Billings Gazette.
The newspaper reports that the Williston office of Job Service North Dakota is seeing job orders for fracking crews and other openings related to well completion, such as workover rigs and trucking.
In some cases, companies are calling workers who had been let go due to low oil prices and asking them to come back to work. Halliburton, which has laid off workers in the Bakken, is hosting a job fair this week at its Williston offices.
Rig Count Drops, After Three Weeks of Gains
The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three last week to 421, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on June 24.
The loss of three rigs snaps three weeks of gains after a slide that lasted months and pushed the count to record-low levels amid low energy prices.
The Houston-based company says 330 rigs sought oil and 90 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.
Louisiana lost five rigs last week, while Oklahoma declined by four and West Virginia by one. Seeing gains were Texas with three, North Dakota (two), and Colorado and Alaska (one each).