Colorado Tightens Regulations on Oil & Gas

Oil is popping higher on strong economic news in China where GDP growth in Q1 was estimated 6.4%, slightly above Reuters estimates of 6.3%. Yesterday saw prices rise to close back over $64/bbl, in line with the recent $63-$64 trading range. Today, crude oil is trading at $64.27, continuing its gains by rising 22 cents.

Fuel prices are also getting a lift this morning, though diesel is seeing pressure from the API’s data. Diesel prices are trading at $2.0835, up 0.1 cents. Gasoline prices are at $2.0444, up 1.3 cents.

The API’s report highlighted a moderate draw in crude oil stocks, compared to expectations for a small build. Diesel surprised in the opposite direction, rising instead of falling. The EIA’s report this morning will shed more light on true inventory levels in the US.

Colorado this week signed Senate Bill 19-181, which tightens regulatory oversight of Colorado’s oil and gas industry. The legislation requires that “public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment” be taken into consideration on all oil and gas projects, while increasing local jurisdictional approval of new drilling oil and gas activity. Proponents say the new bill will give local cities and counties more control over their local interests, while opponents claim it threatens an industry that supports 230,000 jobs in Colorado and accounts for over half of all tax revenue. While Colorado accounts for a fairly low amount of national US output (just over 4%), it has enormous growth potential, having grown production 5X since 2011.

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