Smithsonian series chronicles lives of oil patch residents

A documentary chronicling the lives of residents and workers in the oil-rich region of North Dakota and Montana that has created a modern-day gold rush will start airing Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel.

The six-episode "Boomtowners" is the latest television project aimed at capturing the complexities of life in the Bakken shale region that has attracted thousands of workers from around the country and their families as they seek high-paying jobs in the oil fields. The series focuses on several people including a judge whose caseload has soared, a Phoenix-native trucker who hauls oil across the region, and an oil field worker who's a street preacher on his days off.

BOEM Photo.

Interior drilling plan takes new fire from both sides

In the latest back-and-forth over the Interior Department’s proposal for offshore oil and gas development, a coalition of 163 Republican lawmakers urged the federal government to expand its horizons and open more waters to development, a day after Democrats pressed for more restrictions offshore.

Sending a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Thursday, the GOP group -- led by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and House Natural Resources Chair Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah -- took issue with the department’s draft five-year plan for offshore oil and gas development from 2017 to 2022.


Oklahoma Geological Society links earthquakes, waste wells

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday it is "very likely" that most of the state's recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations.

Geologists have been studying the cause of hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the homes and the nerves of residents in central and north-central Oklahoma, where the pace of oil and gas drilling has accelerated in recent years.


Employers cut jobs in 31 US states as growth slows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers in 31 U.S. states cut jobs last month as weak economic growth weighed on hiring and a slowdown in oil and gas drilling caused big job losses in some states.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose or were unchanged in 27 states and fell in 23 states. Eighteen states gained jobs, while employment was unchanged in Idaho.


Argentina sues companies drilling off Falkland Islands

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Argentine government on Tuesday sued several energy companies that are drilling for oil near the Falkland Islands, the latest proxy fight in a longstanding dispute over the far-flung archipelago, though analysts say it will have little practical effect.

Daniel Filmus, the Argentine official responsible for the islands, told The Associated Press that the suit was filed in the Tierra del Fuego province in southern Argentina.

Associated Press

On BP spill anniversary, Dems push to block Atlantic drilling

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a pair of Democrats are pushing legislation to keep offshore drilling out of the Atlantic.

The bill, announced Monday and to be introduced soon by Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Robert Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, would prevent the Interior Department from offering leases for oil and gas exploration or development in any of three Atlantic planning areas.


Report: Kuwait discovers 4 new oil fields in kingdom

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait's state news agency says the state-run Kuwait Oil Co. has discovered four new oil fields.

The Kuwait News Agency quoted KOC's CEO Hashim Hashim on Sunday as saying that the discovery of these fields will "fortify Kuwait's standing as an international producer of oil."


Gulf health 5 years after BP spill: Resilient yet scarred

From above, five years after the BP well explosion, the Gulf of Mexico looks clean, green and whole again, teeming with life — a testament to the resilience of nature.

But there's more than surface shimmering blue and emerald to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill. And it's not as pretty a picture — nor is it as clear.

Interior Department photo

Interior takes first step to reforming oil, gas royalty policies

The Interior Department on Friday took a first step toward reforming its royalty policies for onshore oil and gas development on public lands, a move that public land advocates said would help ensure a “fair share” is paid to taxpayers - and opponents decried as a federal effort to “take as much as you can” from energy companies.

In issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Bureau of Land Management solicited comment on proposals that include giving the agency flexibility to adjust onshore royalty rates and fees to address market changes.


Shell Arctic rig facing more protests


More protests appear to be in the offing for Shell's Arctic drilling rig, the Transocean Polar Pioneer, FuelFix reports.


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