Top Gas Drilling Executives Resign

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While Idaho's top elected officials met this morning in their alter-egos as members of the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the top three officers of Bridge Resources were handing in their resignations. Bridge has been at the forefront of natural gas exploration in Idaho, drilling primarily in Payette County.

Ed Davies, Bridge's chief executive officer, resigned from the company effectively immediately, along with Tom Stewart, vice president, and Kim Parsons, manager exploration. Davies and Parsons have been the faces of Bridge for nearly two years, testifying before Payette County officials before finally securing the rights to drill.

Bridge's stock traded as high as 52 cents a share in November 2010 but as of this morning was trading at 4 cents a share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter gaveled in this morning's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission at the Borah Building in downtown Boise. While there was no conversation regarding the fate of Bridge, there was plenty of talk about Bridge's exploration. Bridge has drilled 11 wells to date. Four have been dry, three have been successful and Bridge has plans to frack the rest, which is the controversial process of shooting high-pressured liquids and sand down a well to enhance gas flows.

"This thing is moving at such velocity," said Otter. "It's so new to us."

This morning, the chairman of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission asked the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for new oversight on safety inspections for so-called "gathering" pipelines.

"There's a gap in state statutes," said Paul Kjellander of the PUC. "Currently Idaho has no formal definition of gathering lines."

Gathering lines for natural gas are considered to be the pipelines between well heads and a processing facility and the lines between the processing facility to a commercial main line.

Kjellander said the PUC had the manpower to provide regular safety inspections on the gathering lines, but a new agreement would have to be crafted to determine if the PUC or the Oil and Gas Commission would have statutory authority over the inspections. Kjellander said local municipalities could also have ultimate statutory authority.

"I don't like surprises," said Otter. "And proper oversight and reporting keeps us from some of those surprises."

The Oil and Gas Commission is expected to take up a formal proposal at its next session.

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