Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gas Drillers Eye Both Sides of Idaho-Oregon Border

Posted By on Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Snake River Oil and Gas, which has had a significant presence in Payette County in its attempts to drill for natural gas, has been doing some border crossing, securing more leases for gas exploration in Oregon's Malheur County.

This morning's Ontario Argus Observer reports that Snake River Oil and Gas and a second company, Trendwell Energy Corporation, have been signing leases with Oregon landowners, in anticipation of exploration and possible drilling.

"It's important to note that resources don't recognize state boundaries," Snake River Oil and Gas spokesman John Foster told the Observer, who added that the company had been leasing in Malheur County for "quite a while."

Boise Weekly has chronicled the burgeoning gas drilling industry, which has been trying to jump-start in earnest since Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter was bragging that Bridge Resources had "hit a hell of a big well." Bridge went on to continue leasing properties from landowners and drilling several exploratory wells. But following a series of investigative reports by Boise Weekly, Bridge's financial house of cards collapsed, selling off its leases to the next round of developers.

Since then, Snake River Oil and Gas's operating partner—Texas-based Alta Mesa Services—has snapped up a number of leases and wells from Bridge and moved forward with its plans to build a natural gas processing plant near U.S. Highway 30, south of New Plymouth in Payette County.

The state of Idaho has collected nearly $695,000 in leases of public lands to the gas exploration companies. To date, approximately 8,700 acres of Idaho's public lands—about half owned by the state's endowment fund and the other half owned by public trust—have been leased to the drillers. Funds raised through leases of the endowment fund are funneled to Idaho public schools.

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