A state commission took a step Wednesday toward beginning the integration process that would allow a Texas oil company to move forward with plans to drill for natural gas or oil in western Idaho, while clarifying rights of the surrounding mineral rights owners who aren't part of the initial drilling lease. The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission selected its chairman, Chris Beck, to preside over procedural matters involving applications filed by Houston-based Alta Mesa Holdings to begin a process called integration in Payette County.
The process allows the commission to act when a minority of mineral rights holders decline to take part in developing a potentially profitable oil or gas field, writes AP reporter Keith Ridler. It's the first time the process approved by Idaho lawmakers earlier this year is being used. Now, when 55 percent of mineral rights owners in a unit support drilling, they can ask the state to integrate other rights holders who aren't participating; that means those non-participants still would be guaranteed payment. You can read Ridler’s full story here.