Salazar issues New Mexico oil, gas, potash co-development order

US Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a secretarial order on Dec. 3 to facilitate co-development of oil, gas, and potash within a 500,000-acre designated potash area (DPA) in southeastern New Mexico.

“This comprehensive strategy will allow us to move beyond years of disagreement and litigation between the energy and potash industries, and provides a balanced approach that will strengthen New Mexico’s economy,” Salazar said.

The final strategy, which was issued as a draft in July, aims to provide more certainty for mineral producers and allow more oil to be produced from the Permian Basin, the US Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management jointly said.

The order also improves certainty for potash resources which are vital to US agriculture, including some that are unique and significant, to be developed, they indicated.

DOI and BLM said the DPA contains significant deposits of both potash—the common name for potassium-bearing minerals, primarily used for fertilizer—and oil and gas in New Mexico, most of which is managed by BLM. It currently produces 75% of the potash mined in the US, and is also home to nearly 800 federal oil and gas leases, they noted.

Salazar’s order calls for horizontal drilling and other new oil and gas technologies to be used to minimize impacts and surface disruptions within the DPA. It also encourages regular, constructive discussion among the industries and the BLM and provides an industry forum to jointly address any concerns that arise in specific situations.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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