In recent years, technological advances have led to a dramatic increase in natural gas and oil production in many regions of the United States. With increased production comes new revenues—and new challenges—for local and state governments.
The Shale Public Finance project, launched at Duke University and now being undertaken at RFF, seeks to identify the key public finance issues facing local governments that are dealing with an unpredictable and rapidly changing oil and gas landscape. The project has examined every major onshore oil and gas producing region of the United States from 2013 through 2016, and ongoing research explores fiscal issues associated with an uncertain outlook for oil and gas activity in the coming years.
Research conducted from 2013 through October 2016 was carried out at the Duke University Energy Initiative with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Summaries of findings to date can be found using this interactive map.
The project aims to identify key fiscal issues faced by local governments experiencing changes in levels of oil and gas development, and determine and describe policy approaches for managing these issues. Researchers working on this project seek to answer the following specific research questions:
- What are the fiscal impacts to local governments from oil and gas development in the shale gas and tight oil era? How have these impacts changed over time, and how have they varied from region to region?
- Have varying state and local policies provided sufficient funding to manage any challenges associated with increased or decreased oil and gas activity?
- What lessons can be learned from state and local government responses to fiscal impacts related to oil and gas development?
- Analyze local and state government financial data to identify effects of oil and gas development on local government revenues and outlays.
- Analyze existing state fiscal policies relevant to oil and gas development in the top 16 oil and gas producing states.
- Conduct structured interviews with local government officials, industry stakeholders, and state government officials in these states.
- Hold stakeholder workshops to share information and explore policy options.
- Multiple publications describing research and analysis on the issues above, along with case studies of specific communities and their approaches to dealing with the relevant fiscal issues.
- Publications will present findings and—if warranted—identify best practices and recommendations.
Journal Article — Mar 4, 2018
The Fiscal Impacts of Increased US Oil and Gas Development on Local Governments
Report — Dec 20, 2017
Local Fiscal Effects of a Drilling Downturn: Local Government Impacts of Decreased Oil and Gas Activity in Five US Shale Regions
After a downturn in drilling, most local governments in Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas continue to benefit from oil and gas development.
Journal Article — Oct 8, 2017
US State and Local Oil and Gas Revenue Sources and Uses
Growth in oil and gas production has led to major new revenues for US state and local governments. This paper examines the top 16 oil and gas producing states, showing substantial variation in how these revenues are collected and allocated.
Issue Brief — Dec 28, 2016
US State and Local Oil and Gas Revenues: Sources and Uses
Growth in oil and gas production has led to major new revenues for US state and local governments. This brief examines the top 16 oil and gas producing states, showing substantial variation in how these revenues are collected and allocated.
Report — May 1, 2016
Local Fiscal Effects of Oil and Gas Development
Report — May 1, 2016
Local Government Revenue from Oil and Gas Production
Report — May 1, 2016
Colorado's Piceance Basin: Variation in the Local Public Finance Effects of Oil and Gas Development
Report — May 1, 2016
Dunn County and Watford City, North Dakota: A Case Study of the Fiscal Effects of Bakken Shale Development
Report — Oct 1, 2014
Oil and Gas Revenue Allocation to Local Governments in Eight States
Report — May 1, 2014
Shale Public Finance: Local Government Revenues and Costs Associated with Oil and Gas Development
Common Resources — May 17, 2017
Local Revenue Volatility and Oil and Gas Development in Texas
Current and proposed policies in Texas make it difficult for local governments to set property tax rates that best suit their needs, as well as dis...
Common Resources — Mar 22, 2017
Neither Side Gets Its Science Right in Maryland Fracking Ban Debate
Marylanders need better information in the debate over a ban on hydraulic fracturing—information that accounts for the real benefits and risks as w...
Common Resources — Jan 30, 2017
Managing Revenues through a Downturn in Texas’s Eagle Ford Shale
Economic cycles in US oil- and gas-producing regions present fiscal challenges and opportunities for local governments. A look at three Texas count...
Common Resources — Dec 6, 2016
The Permian Basin: Local Fiscal Benefits, Challenges, and Surprises
After visiting west Texas for the first time in 2013, we returned to the region this month to examine whether a downturn in global oil prices had a...
Common Resources — Nov 10, 2016
Divergent Fiscal Impacts in Neighboring Pennsylvania Counties
In 2004, the first Marcellus shale gas well was drilled in Washington County, Pennsylvania, about a thirty-minute drive from Pittsburgh in the sout...
Common Resources — Oct 28, 2016
Bakken 2016: Managing a Downturn and Planning for an Uncertain Future
Western North Dakota is one of the most rural regions of the United States, and has experienced perhaps the most dramatic fiscal impacts of the sha...
Common Resources — Oct 11, 2016
Local Fiscal Impacts of a Drilling Slowdown Along Colorado’s Front Range
Regulation of oil and gas development has been a highly contentious political issue along Colorado's Front Range over the past several years.
Common Resources — Dec 30, 2015
2015 Workshops on Shale Public Finance
About 20 experts on local government issues related to oil and gas development convened at the Duke University Energy Initiative in late August 201...
Common Resources — Sep 24, 2015
Back to the Bakken
When we first visited the Bakken shale region in western North Dakota almost two years ago, 165 drilling rigs were operating in the area. They brou...
Common Resources — Jun 24, 2015
North Slope Borough: Huge revenues, future challenges
Alaska’s North Slope Borough was incorporated in 1972, several years after giant oil deposits were discovered in and around Prudhoe Bay.
Common Resources — Jun 19, 2015
Alaska Oil, Gas Play Large, Indirect Role in Kenai Public Finances
Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a three-hour drive south from the state capitol of Anchorage, boasts rugged mountains, icy blue rivers and abundant wildl...
Common Resources — May 6, 2015
Neighboring Utah Counties See Differing Fiscal Effects from Oil-Gas Activity
Much of the oil and gas production that takes place in Utah’s Uintah Basin occurs on land owned by the federal government, state government and Nat...
Common Resources — May 1, 2015
Vernal, Utah, Benefits from Fossils and Fossil Fuel Tax Revenues
The city of Vernal, an isolated community in eastern Utah with a population of roughly 10,000, has experienced multiple cycles of oil and gas activ...
Common Resources — Apr 27, 2015
Road Maintenance Agreements Play Key Role in Utica Shale Region
The Utica Shale formation has generated major interest in eastern Ohio over the past several years, with drilling activity and production surging i...
Common Resources — Apr 19, 2015
Wetzel County Realizes Benefits, Challenges of Marcellus Development
The government of Wetzel County, W.Va., has struggled through much of the past 30 years. The county’s population has steadily declined since 1980, ...
Common Resources — Apr 16, 2015
Oil, Gas Drive Government Revenue in Kansas' Hugoton Region
The Hugoton gas field covering much of southwestern Kansas is one of the world’s largest natural gas fields. Discovered in the 1920s, production fr...
Common Resources — Apr 2, 2015
Managing Oil-Gas Activity Costs a Challenge in Southern Kansas
Oil and gas activity has surged in south-central Kansas over the past several years, led by production from the Mississippian Lime formation in nei...
Common Resources — Mar 16, 2015
Oil, Gas Play Key Role for Kern County Public Finances
California produces more oil than all but three other states (Texas, North Dakota and Alaska), and Kern County is responsible for more than 70 perc...
Common Resources — Mar 12, 2015
Long Beach Government Profits from Unique Oil History, but Challenges Lie Ahead
The city of Long Beach, Calif., occupies an unusual position in terms of local government relationships with the oil and gas industry. Due to a com...
Common Resources — Feb 22, 2015
Drilling and Government Revenues Slow in New Mexico's San Juan Basin
New Mexico’s San Juan basin, which sits in the far northwest corner of the state, has seen substantial increases and decreases in oil and gas devel...
Common Resources — Jan 15, 2015
Oil/Gas Activity Boosts Economy, Government Revenue in NM's Permian Basin
The Permian basin, which straddles the border of west Texas and southeast New Mexico, has been a leading producer of domestic oil and gas for nearl...
Common Resources — Dec 30, 2014
2014 Workshops on Shale Public Finance
More than a dozen experts and local officials came to Duke University in the spring of 2014 to discuss how they handled or are still managing key f...
Common Resources — Dec 28, 2014
Budgeting through 'Boom and Bust' in McAlester
Natural gas drilling and production surged in southeastern Oklahoma during the middle part of the 2000s thanks to the application of new technologi...
Common Resources — Dec 21, 2014
Government Revenue, Road Repair Needs Surge in NW Oklahoma
Oil and gas production has surged since 2010 across northwest Oklahoma, our first stop on this round of travel to research the impact of shale deve...
Common Resources — Nov 2, 2014
Traveling the Country to Study Shale Public Finance
Since the mid-2000s, technological advances have led to a dramatic increase in natural gas and oil production from shale formations in the United S...
Common Resources — May 12, 2014
Setting the Agenda for Phase I Travel
During the initial phase of our research into shale public finance, the Energy Initiative sent Associate in Research Daniel Raimi to a number of ke...
Common Resources — Feb 18, 2014
The Next Phase of the Project
After traveling through eight states, visiting 10 major oil and gas plays, and interviewing hundreds of experts, the travels for the first phase of...
Common Resources — Feb 11, 2014
Local Governments See Benefits from Fayetteville Shale Development
Arkansas’ oil and gas production history dates back to the 1920s along its southern border, near the colorfully named communities of El Dorado and ...
Common Resources — Jan 23, 2014
New Technologies Reinvigorate West Texas Production, Government Revenue
Since the 1920s, West Texas’ Permian Basin region has relied on oil and gas production as the driving force of its economy. After a boom period in ...
Common Resources — Jan 16, 2014
Eagle Ford Boosts Government Revenue across Southern Texas
Although the oil and gas industry has historically played a large part in the economies of many Texas regions, large portions of Southern Texas hav...
Common Resources — Jan 9, 2014
Spindletop: The Original Oil "Boomtown"
The name “Spindletop” holds a central place in American energy history. It was here, on a hill in southeastern Texas in 1901, that a group of prosp...
Common Resources — Dec 26, 2013
Haynesville Governments Retain Fiscal Benefits in the Wake of a Boom
The Haynesville Shale, which straddles northwestern Louisiana and northeastern Texas, is one of the most prolific “dry gas” plays in the United Sta...
Common Resources — Dec 22, 2013
Government Finance in the Barnett, Home of the Shale Gas Revolution
It was here, the Barnett Shale in northern Texas, that companies such as Mitchell Energy “cracked the code” to economically produce natural gas fro...
Common Resources — Dec 7, 2013
Phase II of the Shale Public Finance Project
During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Shale Public Finance project examined the fiscal effects of increased oil and gas development for local gov...
Common Resources — Dec 2, 2013
Wyoming Counties See Large Revenue Growth, Cities Less So as Production Grows
Sublette County in southwestern Wyoming produces more natural gas than any other county in the nation. Largely driven by production from the massiv...
Common Resources — Nov 22, 2013
Different Effects for Western Colorado Neighbors
Arid, snow-capped mountains line Interstate 70, the main artery in Garfield County along which hundreds of wells produce a fast-growing supply of n...
Common Resources — Nov 12, 2013
Oil Production, Government Revenue Grow in the Shadow of the Rockies
A drilling rig operates in Weld County, Colo.Weld County, Colorado, lies just 30 minutes north of Denver. It’s been in the national energy communit...
Common Resources — Nov 1, 2013
Beside the Bakken: Eastern Montana Feels the Effects of a Neighbor's Oil Boom
Although Montana counties such as Richland and Roosevelt have also experienced the effects of a growing population and economy resulting from Bakke...
Common Resources — Oct 22, 2013
Public Finance in the Booming Bakken
Perhaps the most talked-about oil play in the United States, the Bakken play has boosted North Dakota’s state tax revenue, attracted workers from a...
Common Resources — Oct 4, 2013
Exploring Shale's Financial Impact in Northeast Pennsylvania
Throughout the rural communities of Bradford, Lycoming, Tioga and Susquehanna counties, evidence of the natural gas industry comes in the form of e...
Common Resources — Sep 25, 2013
Washington, Greene Counties Adapt to Shale Development's Impact
The oil and gas industries are evident in many facets of daily life in Washington and Greene counties. Hotel parking lots are filled with heavy-dut...
Common Resources — Sep 16, 2013
Packing Our Bags
Welcome to the Shale Public Finance travel blog! This blog will document our travels to some of the most active oil and gas development regions in ...