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OIL, GAS AND MINING

The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining was originally established in 1955 as the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The mission of the Division is to regulate the exploration and development of coal, oil and gas, and other minerals in a manner that encourages responsible reclamation and development; protects correlative rights; prevents waste and protects human health and safety, the environment and the interests of the state and its citizens.

While demand, technology and pricing have changed dramatically over the past 60 years, our Division’s role and commitment to regulating the industry to protect the public and Utah’s environment has not. The abundant supply of oil, gas and minerals in Utah contribute significantly to the state’s economic benefits and our quality of life.

Sunset view of an oil station in the Vernal basin
Abandoned mine program surveying potential closure site

The Division is committed to the future of oil, gas and mining in Utah. As our population and demand for energy resources increase, we will continue to ensure responsible resource development, protect the public’s safety, and preserve the environment while permitting access to affordable and reliable energy sources for future generations.

As a regulatory agency, the Division oversees and manages four distinct programs, including Coal, Mineral Mining, Oil and Gas and Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

How are gasoline prices determined?

Retail gasoline prices include four main components: cost of crude oil; refining costs and profits; distribution and marketing costs/profits; and taxes. Utah gas tax 29 cents/gallon

Why are abandoned mines dangerous?

Old mining sites can be intriguing to unsuspecting explorers but can contain dangerous gases, unstable structures and explosives. The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP) works to protect the public from dangers of old mines by sealing off access to openings and cleaning up waste.

Why does Utah have some of the lowest energy prices in the nation?

Industrial electric rates in Utah’s major cities are consistently among the lowest of U.S. cities nationwide. A plentiful supply of low-cost energy has aided the state in avoiding the high prices and large spikes that other cities have faced. Clean burning coal power plants provide more than 80 percent of Utah’s electricity and contribute approximately $500 million to the state’s economy.

What is hydraulic fracturing or “fracking?”

Hydraulic fracturing produces fractures in the rock formation that stimulate the flow of natural gas or oil, increasing the volumes that can be recovered. Fractures are created by pumping large quantities of fluid at high pressure down a wellbore and into the target rock formation. Hydraulic fracturing fluid commonly consists of water, sand and chemical additives that open and enlarge fractures within the rock formation. Once the injection process is completed, the fluid is pumped to the surface through the wellbore. This fluid is known as produced water and may contain the injected chemicals plus naturally occurring materials such as brines and hydrocarbons. The produced water is typically stored on site in tanks or pits before treatment, disposal or recycling. In many cases, it is injected underground for disposal. The first commercially successful application of hydraulic fracturing occurred in 1950. Today it is a common practice and is generally necessary to achieve adequate flow rates in oil and gas wells.

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