World oil prices have been falling recently — and that's good news for oil consumers such as the U.S., Europe and China, and a potential challenge for the big exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia.
The oil market is notoriously volatile, and the factors driving prices down are temporary. But some energy industry analysts are posing a much larger question: Is the world, and the U.S. in particular, entering a new phase of expanding energy supplies and more moderate prices?
Tax revenue coming from shale, oil, and gas development has many states very happy, but the boom is also putting a strain on regulators. There are not enough of them to inspect all the drilling sites. Colorado, for example, has 17 inspectors for more the 47,000 active oil and gas wells. Kirk Siegler reports from member station KUNC.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Each day, Jim Precobb(ph) of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission logs about 400 miles in his state-owned truck.
Governor John Hickenlooper is praising a proposal by the Obama Administration that would require oil and gas companies drilling on federal lands to disclose the chemicals they use in the process known as hydraulic fracturing.
The Obama administration today released a new set of rules for oil and gas drilling on public land. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, the rules are meant to keep companies from polluting water when they use the engineering technique known as fracking.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Hydraulic fracturing is what made the current drilling booms possible. Companies force hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to open up cracks in the rock and make the oil or natural gas flow faster.