U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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An occasional feature of BLM California's News.bytes

Spotlight on Partners: Oil and Gas Working Group

The California Oil and Gas Work Group is a collaborative partnership consisting of members from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (CDOGGR), the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB), Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), California Fish and Game (CDFG), petroleum industry associations, and both major and independent oil companies. (text continues below)

Left to right: Jim Robinson (Vintage Petroleum), Jim Campion (CDOGGR, Sacramento), Suzanne Noble (WSPA, Workgroup Chairperson), Randy Adams, (CDOGGR, District Deputy, Bakersfield), and Hal Bopp (CDOGGR, State Oil & Gas Supervisor)
At a meeting in Sacramento this week, Jim Campion of the California Division of Oil, Gas, And Geothermal Resources (CDOGGR) introduces and issue as other attendess consult their notes. Left to right: Jim Robinson (Vintage Petroleum), Jim Campion (CDOGGR, Sacramento), Suzanne Noble (WSPA, Workgroup Chairperson), Randy Adams, (CDOGGR, District Deputy, Bakersfield), and Hal Bopp (CDOGGR, State Oil & Gas Supervisor)

The Work Group has four key objectives: 
            1) To seek cooperation between agencies and industry
            2) To meet quarterly to share information and concerns
            3) To reduce duplicative or contradictory State or Federal orders
            4) To provide industry the opportunity to comment on new requirements before they are implemented
 
The work group’s beginnings date back to 1992. At that time, the government agencies were at odds with each other and often had different regulatory requirements for the same operations, which was frustrating to industry. Initial meetings were highly contentious, but all those involved were committed to finding a better way of doing business.
 
A key early accomplishment was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by BLM and CDOGGR in 1996. The MOU clearly states the roles and responsibilities of each agency on the federal leases, thus streamlining permitting and eliminating duplication. It has increased efficiency in both agencies and continues to be improved through regular review.
 
There have been many other accomplishments as well, mostly achieved through smaller subcommittees that operate under the umbrella of the work group itself: 
  • agreement on the safest and most economic way to drill and abandon wells
  • a step-by-step, reliable process for abandoning sumps
  • options for operators on how to deal with idle wells
  • biennial conferences to share information and promote networking
  • requirements for venting and flaring gas
  • guidelines for alternate plugging techniques
  • major cleanup on federal leases
  • information seminars for operators conducted by BLM

The work group, which recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary, has discovered how members can help each other develop a stronger oil economy in California and more efficient and effective government oversight. Through its process and its accomplishments, the California Oil and Gas Work Group provides a model of how government and industry should work together.

BLM California State Director Mike Pool (fourth from left, in blue shirt), addresses the group
BLM California State Director Mike Pool (fourth from left) addresses the group

Left to right: Rick Garcia (Oxy/Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Elk Hills, workgroup deputy chair) and Ed Brannon (CDOGGR District Deputy, Santa Maria) discuss a topic during a short break in the meeting.
Left to right: Rick Garcia (Oxy-Elk Hills, workgroup deputy chair) and Ed Brannon (CDOGGR District Deputy, Santa Maria) discuss a point during a short break


BLM California News.bytes, issue 310


 
Last updated: 12-12-2007