Ute Indian Tribe Develops Strategic Plan for Oil and Gas Development

The Ute Business Committee has shared a press release announcing a strategic plan to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the energy industry: According to Business Committee Chairman Luke Duncan, the plan outlines various approaches that will allow the tribe to continue its critical revenue stream from mineral assets. “We’ve identified 12 steps we can take that will help us adapt to the hardships Covid-19 has created, and ensure that we maintain a strong oil and gas economy on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation,” he explained. “These strategies will benefit our tribe and all our tribal members, including those who own businesses here on the reservation. Those businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic; we want to make sure they have access to new opportunities that enable them to grow and thrive. We understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach to adapting to an uncertain energy market,” Duncan continued. “Putting our plan to action will involve exploring each of these actions as conditions and available resources allow.” The tribe’s strategic options include legislative initiatives dealing with tribal contributions to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and making Tribal Energy Resource Agreements (TERAs) more accessible; pursuing turnkey operation and maximizing utilization of all oil and gas assets, infrastructure, and business activities on the reservation; and storing crude oil supplies until market conditions improve. Additional priorities involve establishing commitments with the planned Uinta Basin refinery; developing the reservation’s gas-fired power plant, and pursuing the establishment of a tribal utility service; and pursuing drilling venture opportunities. “Of course, we also will be taking targeted and effective action to mitigate impacts on tribal member dividends,” Duncan said. “This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for us all, and protecting our people from Covid-19 is our top priority. That means protecting their health and safety, yes, but it also means protecting our tribe’s economy. It must continue to thrive for the generations to come.” 


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