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Bureau of Land Management issues a two-page report concerning oil and gas potential in Corson County | South Dakota History

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Rapid City Journal
Photo of an oil well taken from the June 4th, 1989 edition of the Rapid City Journale

On April 17th, 1989, the Bureau of Land Management issues a two-page report concerning oil and gas potential in Corson County. The report said Corson and neighboring Perkins County have moderate development potential and that exploratory wells will determine the likelihood of future oil well drilling in the counties.

An updated report from 2012 notes,o there is a great deal of interest to develop South Dakota’s oil and gas industry considering the Baken formation in North Dakota. The report also outlined the challenges related to an oil boom for… law enforcement, emergency services, housing, transportation, infrastructure, water and electrical systems, municipalities, counties, and education.

The rich Bakken formation to the north does not extend into South Dakota and as a result, potential oil development is far less likely. In 2012, South Dakota had only one drilling rig and was creating about one new well per month. The report says new oil and gas development in northwest South Dakota may be delayed as operators pursue a “sure thing” in North Dakota.

There is modest oil and gas production in Harding County on land owned by local ranchers. South Dakota also has a number of environmental statutes in place. And oil and gas production is subject to three types of taxes: sales and use taxes; the energy mineral severance tax, and the conservation tax.

The 2012 report concluded that the state’s highway system is already being impacted by development in North Dakota. And that South Dakota will only get a secondary economic impact of oil and gas development in surrounding states.

Those are the conclusions concerning oil and gas potential in South Dakota following up on an initial report published on April 17th, 1989.

Production help is provided by Doctor Brad Tennant, Professor of History at Presentation College.