In this morning’s BLM budget hearing, there’s likely to be lots of misinformation flying left and right. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with everything you might have wanted to know about the nitty-gritty details on trends in oil and gas production across the nation.
- In response to low crude oil prices,leasing and drilling have declined significantly across all land ownerships. While oil was worth approximately $90/barrel in 2014, it’s now valued at about $50/barrel.
- Over the past year, the number of active drilling rigs in the United Stateshas dropped by more than 50 percent. At the beginning of May 2014, there were 1,854 active drilling rigs running in the United States; at the beginning of May 2015, the number of active rigs had dropped to 905.
Leasing and drilling have also declined significantly on federal, state and private lands in the Rocky Mountain region in particular:
- In New Mexico, low oil prices have also cut rig counts in half. While there were an average of 93 active drilling rigs in New Mexico in January 2015, there are currently only 45 rigs in the state. At N.M.’s last monthly state land lease sale in April, only 3,569 acres of land was sold. That’s less than at any of at least the 63 previous sales held in New Mexico, dating back to 2009.
- In Utah, drilling has also decreased significantly—while almost 4 drilling permits were approved per day in 2014, the state has been approving only about 2.5 permits per day in 2015, due in large part to low demand.
- In Colorado, industry interest in leasing state lands has declined considerably. In November 2014, after oil prices began to plunge, industry bid on only 6,040 acres of state lands offered at auction—less than at any state land lease sale since at least 2010. For comparison, more than 50,000 acres were sold on average at each of the previous fifteen lease sales in Colorado.
- In Wyoming, at the most recent state land lease sale, about 52,000 acres of land received bids. That’s about a 30% decline from the previous six lease sales, where an average of 73,000 acres sold.