Salazar cancels oil shale lease solicitation, plans a new round

The US Department of the Interior will offer another round of oil shale leases in Colorado and Utah and withdraw the Bush administration's proposal for expanded offerings, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Feb. 25.

"We need to push forward aggressively with research, development and demonstration of oil shale technologies to see if we can find a safe and economically viable way to unlock these resources on a commercial scale. The [RD&D] leases we will offer can help answer critical questions about oil shale, including about the viability of emerging technologies on a commercial scale, how water and power would be required, and what impact commercial development would have on land, water, wildlife and communities," he said.

Salazar said that he was withdrawing the previous oil shale RD&D lease solicitation because it contained several flaws, including locking in low royalty rates that would shortchange taxpayers.

"The previous administration offered their RD&D oil shale leases just days before leaving office, made the parcels four times the size of the current six RD&D leases, and then locked in low royalty rates and a premature regulatory framework for those leases. If oil shale technology proves to be viable on a commercial scale, taxpayers should get a fair rate of return from their resource," he said.

Offering leases for 640 acres instead of 160 acres was likelier to provide sufficient reserves to support a commercial operation, BLM said on Jan. 14 when it announced the proposal which Salazar withdrew. The new lease would go to applicants not using technologies used in the first round of oil shale leases, it said at the time.

Salazar said that DOI has submitted a notice which will appear in the Feb. 27 Federal Register asking the oil and gas industry, local communities, states and other stakeholders for their advice on what terms and conditions of the second round of oil shale RD&D leases should be. Comments will be accepted for 90 days.

"Following that, the department will move ahead with a solicitation for RD&D leases, based on sound policy and public input. This will help us restore order to a process that, under the previous administration was turned upside down. We look forward to hearing from the public, industry, and local communities as we move toward offering a second round of [RD&D] leases," the secretary said.

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

Emerging producers offered guidelines for governance

07/06/2015 Like most worthy endeavors, governing oil and gas activity at the national level is easier said than done-especially where oil and gas never before...

Newfoundland, Labrador prepare for deepwater exploration

07/06/2015 Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board's (C-NLOPB) most recent call for bids for the Eastern Newfoundland Region is coming to a ...

Poor BIA management has hindered tribal energy development, GAO says

07/06/2015 The US Bureau of Indian Affairs does not have data it needs to verify ownership of some Indian oil and gas resources, easily identify resources ava...

EPA draft assessment finds no widespread harm to drinking water from fracturing

06/15/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency released a draft assessment June 4 of a study in which it concluded hydraulic fracturing activities have not...

E&Y: US firms' capex, revenues, reserves up again in 2014, but cuts loom

06/15/2015 US oil and gas companies reported increases across the board in capital expenditures, revenues, and reserves in 2014 as oil prices nearly halved du...

Study: Pennsylvania gas severance tax would reduce Marcellus horizontal drilling

06/12/2015 A proposed natural gas severance tax in Pennsylvania would have negative economic consecutives, reducing the number of horizontal gas wells drilled...

US Forest Service agrees to add a map to White River National Forest leasing plan, rejects most objections

06/12/2015 A US Forest Service official rejected most objections raised by various groups regarding USFS's draft oil and gas leasing decision for the White Ri...

Four states sue federal government about fracturing regs

06/11/2015 Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit questioning the US Bureau of Land Management's new rules for hydraulic fracturing for onshore drilling on tribal an...

Private equity remains available for unconventional upstream companies

06/11/2015 Plentiful private equity capital is available for oil and gas companies to invest on US unconventional plays, various PE capital providers have con...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected