Osage Nation Minerals Council Hopes To See Another Energy Boom

Dec 8, 2016

Leaders of the Osage Nation want to develop oil and gas on their land in northeastern Oklahoma. The tribe's Minerals Council told attendees at a conference Wednesday in Skiatook they’re ready for another energy boom.

The Osage Nation can’t approve drilling on its own land. That authority rests with the federal government. Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear wants to develop a plan to pay for infrastructure that could help the oil and gas industry produce more. He said royalties will benefit children and grandchildren of the tribe.

Environmental studies have nearly halted drilling in Osage County north of Tulsa, according to The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo:

Oil production in the county has fallen since July 2014. The U.S. government updated its code of federal regulations and required more environmental review before issuing drilling permits or workover permits. Producers must follow the National Environmental Policy Act, which includes conducting surveys for the American burying beetle.

BlueJacket Energy LLC manager Shane Matson said there were two joint ventures worth $100 million each that have been abandoned because of the environmental rules.

Operators are wary of investing in Osage County, because it’s difficult to work with federal agencies that must approve drilling permits and environmental studies, he said.

“They’ll take the rock risk,” Matson said. “The regulatory risk is the worst of all, because you can’t predict it.”

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