Newsom Announces Changes to Oil & Gas Laws, New Conservation Director & Oil & Gas Supervisor

Published On: October 12, 2019

While the focus of the week has been the wind event and PSPS by the utilities, Governor Newsom announced changes to the oil and gas industry on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Newsom signed legislation that prohibits the State from authorizing new oil and gas infrastructure on federally protected lands (AB 342), requires well operators to provide estimates to plug, abandon and decommission wells (SB 551), renamed DOGGR to “Geologic Energy Management Division” (AB 1057), requires the submission of testing data conducted on idle and abandoned wells for publication on the DOGGR’s website (AB 1328), improves the reporting of the chemical composition of leaks from natural gas storage wells (SB 463), and establishes contingency planning for all types of non-floating oil spills (AB 936).

In addition, Newsom appointed David Shabazian as head of the Department of Conservation. Shabazian has been program manager of rural-urban connections strategy for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments since 2007, where he has also served as project manager of water resources and floodplain program management since 2004.

Newsom also appointed Uduak-Joe Ntuk, 40, as Supervisor for Oil & Gas Division. Ntuk has been petroleum administrator for the City of Los Angeles since 2016 and an adjunct faculty member at the California State University, Long Beach Chemical Engineering Department since 2015. He has ties to the oil industry and held several positions at Chevron Corporation from 2006 to 2011.

These changes are in response to Chevron’s oil spill in the Central Valley. As previously reported, we expect the Legislature to hold hearings specific to the oil spill and the potential conflicts of interests that rattled DOGGR earlier in the year.

About the Author: Matt Ross

Matt Ross is a Senior Consultant in the energy industry and has more than a dozen years of experience in state government. He can be reached at matt at govreport.org