Nevada oil & gas: Production still miniscule, but leasing is booming

By: - August 9, 2018 11:54 am
If you don't have an oil well, get one

Still a rare site in Nevada – an oil well along U.S. Route 6 in Railroad Valley in the Tonopah Basin. (Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, the prospect of oil and gas drilling in the Ruby Mountains near Elko prompted alarms, particularly within the conservation community and among some politicians.

Meantime, other parts of Nevada are already hotbeds for oil and gas lease applications — if not oil & gas production.

Thursday E&E News, a publication well-known among people who work in and on energy and environmental issues, published a lengthy overview of oil and gas leasing by the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada.

“The Silver State is experiencing an oil and gas transformation, at least when it comes to leasing,” writes E&E reporter Ellen Gilmer. “The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management has put hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands on the auction block in recent years and is pushing to lease even more under the Trump administration’s ‘energy dominance’ agenda.”

Gilmer’s piece notes that oil and gas production in the state remains negligible, and industry and opponents alike are skeptical that significant production in Nevada will make economic sense any time soon.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen, because there’s not much oil and gas here anyway,” Patrick Donnelly, Nevada director of the Center for Biological Diversity told E&E. Public records requests filed by Donnelly’s organization led to Nevada learning that the U.S. Forest Service is proposing to allow drilling in the Ruby Mountains.

“But we don’t know what geopolitical factors will influence the price of oil,” Donnelly is quoted as saying in the story. “We want to be ready for when $200-a-barrel oil turns this into the gold rush.”

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.