With Mississippi drawing ever closer to a possible shale oil bonanza in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale play, Gov. Phil Bryant next year will chair the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the nation’s oldest oil and gas commission.
The commission, representing the governors of 30 member and eight associate states, promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of the nation’s oil and natural gas resources, the organization says.
Bryant succeeds Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, the 2013 chairman.
Bryant’s chairmanship comes as exploratory drilling for shale oil expands in the Mississippi counties of Pike, Amite and Wilkinson. Oil companies say they are increasingly confident that they can bring the cost of the deep horizontal drilling and the fracturing process it entails down to a level that makes the drilling commercially viable.
Oil and gas experts say the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale situated in Southwest Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana is at depths of 11,000 to 15,000 feet but modern drilling techniques make the effort more affordable and effective than in the past. The quantity of oil and gas that can be removed from the TMS is uncertain but energy companies are betting it is substantial.
To encourage more drilling, Mississippi last year lowered its severance tax on oil and gas extracted through horizontal; drilling from 6 percent to 1.3 percent for the next five years.
In a press statement announcing his chairmanship of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Bryant said: “Mississippi is a leader in energy innovation, and people around the world are taking note of our competitive advantages.”
Bryant said he and commission will promote national policies to expand energy production opportunities.
Bryant is the second governor from Mississippi to serve as the IOGCC chairman. Gov. Paul B Johnson served as chairman in 1967.
As the incoming chairman, Gov. Bryant will work with members on oil and gas issues and advocates states’ rights to govern the petroleum resources within their borders, the press statement said.
Member states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.