Posted: Jan 8, 2013 7:33 AM by Jay Kohn
Updated: Jan 8, 2013 7:51 AM
BILLINGS - Statistics from the Montana Board of Oil and Gas show that drilling permits for new oil wells in Montana showed a significant increase in 2012.
In 2009, the number of oil well permits issued in Montana totaled 289 in 2009, 329 permits were handed out in 2010, and 269 permits were issued in 2011. But this past year, that number surged to 411 permits granted.
On the other end of the spectrum , the number of conventional natural gas well permits issued in Montana dwindled to only a handful.
Back in 2009, there were 203 permits issued, but in 2010 that number dropped to 93. Natural gas well permits dropped to just 29 in 2011, and last year, the number of permits issued totaled only 13.
While the boom in shale gas, horizontal drilling, and fracturing has sparked the Bakken Boom, the sudden glut of natural gas has left drilling for natural gas at a near standstill in Montana.
Regarding coal, there are several important dates to keep in mind coming up within the next few weeks.
The deadline for public comments on the new Tongue River Railroad proposal running through Colstrip is Friday Jan. 11th while the deadline to comment on a proposed new coal terminal in Cherry Point, Washington is Jan. 21.
Finally, public scoping meetings are for next week regarding the permit on the proposed Otter Creek Coal mine, on Wednesday, Jan. 16 and Thursday, Jan. 17.
The first meeting on the Otter Creek Mine is set for the Broadus Community Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 16, and the St. Labre School in Ashland will host a scoping meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 17. That same evening, another scoping meeting is set for the Charging Horse Casino in Lame Deer from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, the public comment period on the proposed expansion of the Signal Peal Coal Mine in the Bull Mountains north of Billings is set to end Feb 7.