In this week's news update, the Obama administration releases new rules for Arctic offshore drilling, and the rig count sees an uptick in oil rigs.
The Baker Hughes’ rig count for the week ending July 8 shows a total of 10 new oil rigs added, bringing the total count to 440, up from 430 a week ago.
Losses for the week came from the natural gas side, where for the second week in a row, one rig was closed, bringing the total to 88.
The biggest increase was seen in Texas with three rigs added, New Mexico and North Dakota added two, and Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wyoming each increased by one.
New Regulations for Arctic Offshore Drilling
The Obama administration rolled out new regulatory standards last Thursday to strengthen offshore oil and natural gas safety in the Arctic Ocean. It’s the first time the federal government has put forth rules specifically for the Arctic.
The regulations are meant in part to ease fears from environmentalists, Alaskan Native American tribes and other groups who believe drilling in the Arctic is high risk. No company is currently using offshore rigs to drill in Arctic federal waters and numerous companies have given up their drilling rights leases.
Under the new rules, companies will be required to have drilling and spill response plans specific to Arctic conditions and be equipped to contain spills without using chemical dispersants. The standards apply only to exploratory drilling.
Plans Proposed for Wisconsin Rail Terminal to Ship Frack Sand
Texas-based mining company Smart Sand Inc. plans to build a $10 million railroad loading terminal near Tomah, Wisconsin, in order to ship fracking sand to new markets. The company says the new terminal would open access to Union Pacific lines and create a connection to customers in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
The plan calls for nearly 7 miles of looped tracks that could accommodate four trains longer than 1 1/2 miles. The terminal would provide transportation for sand from the company’s 1,118-acre mine in Oakdale.