- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Bugs in a new online process for drilling permits are causing concern as the Bureau of Land Management works to address complaints over wait times.

Permit approvals are dramatically low and the bureau appears to be struggling, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spokesman Wally Drangmeister told the Carlsbad Current-Argus that (https://bit.ly/2i355GC).

“Anything that slows down new wells is a problem,” he said.

Sheila Mallory of the bureau’s state office says officials are trying to address complaints locally.

“They’re really concerned with the bugs in the system,” Mallory said. “We have heard those concerns and try to address them on the local level. We are working with the industry to address those challenges.”

Bureau Director Neil Kornze said in a news release that several updated processes in the oil and gas program will make experiences more efficient for the bureau and industry.

The online process is intended to reduce wait times.

“It’s no secret in this industry that we have been criticized in the past for the length of time it takes to get a permit,” said Beverly Winston, a spokeswoman for the national bureau. “This will provide more certainty for the operators.”

Winston said it will take years to update the entire system, but that once it’s fully modernized, well data and history will be available to operators.

“Having a better exchange of data will make the potential developments better,” Winston said. “It’s a use on public land and we want it to be safe.”

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Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, https://www.currentargus.com/


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