The West’s public lands are open for business

by Michelle Blank

The 2003 EPCA report considered five Western regions. The 2006 report looked at 11, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and southern Florida. The difference in scope skews comparison of the reports, especially considering that ANWR’s 19 million acres are (still) off-limits to drilling. But a look at the five Western regions included in both reports demonstrates that little has changed in regard to land available for drilling.

2003 vs 2006

40/39 Percent of land that is off-limits to oil and gas development

21/25 Percent of land open to leasing with some restrictions

39/36 Percent of land that is accessible under standard lease terms

Lots o’ drilling

Regardless of some restrictions, drilling is on the rise.

49,375 Oil and gas wells drilled in 2006, a 21-year high.

29,356 Natural gas wells completed in 2006, an all-time high

2,062/1,630 Drilling permits issued in Utah in 2006 (a record high) and 2005

5,904/4,373 Drilling permits issued in Colorado in 2006 (a record high) and 2005

9,097/10,021 Drilling permits issued in Wyoming in 2006 and 2005

15,926 Total number of wells drilled in Utah to date

8,197 Total wells in Utah capable of production

 

Sources: American Petroleum Institute, Energy Information Administration, Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

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