Dan Boyce

Dan Boyce moved to the Inside Energy team at Rocky Mountain PBS in 2014, after five years of television and radio reporting in his home state of Montana. In his most recent role as Montana Public Radio’s Capitol Bureau Chief, Dan produced daily stories on state politics and government.

A shortage of oil workers

Jul 13, 2017

Standing on the shoulder of I-25 in eastern Wyoming, see a herd of pronghorn antelope running off that way and on this side of the interstate a billboard which reads “Crude Oil Drivers Wanted. Text Crude to 865-337-8415.”

This is happening in oil fields from North Dakota down to Texas.

HELMS: “You'll see close to 200 frack crew jobs listed for North Dakota,"

North Dakota Mineral Resources Director, Lynn Helms at a press conference last month.

HELMS: "The rigs are outrunning the frack crews."

2015 was a year marked by a dramatic reversal of fortune in the oil industry.

Crude oil prices dropped down to a third of their 2014 highs, effectively pouring ice water on America’s shale revolution.

Our Inside Energy reporter Dan Boyce takes a look back.

To understand what many oil companies have been going through in the last year we need to enter a dark forest filled with hedges, zombies and strippers.

To explain, I visit Steve Trammel.

TRAMMEL: “Hi dan. Steve Trammel.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking aim at the nation’s smog levels.

The agency released tougher standards for ozone emissions Wednesday.

Ground-level ozone is a primary concern for lung health--exacerbating diseases like asthma.  Car tailpipes contribute to it. So do power plants and oil and gas development.

Our Inside Energy Reporter Dan Boyce reports from Denver--long considered a success story in reducing ozone.

Air quality has been a concern in Colorado for decades.

Pope Francis is here in the US this week and will make a historic address to Congress on Thursday.

Some conservative Catholics say Francis is meddling in American politics with his recent call for action on climate change.

Meanwhile, for the faithful in Western coal country, Francis is raising moral questions.

Our Inside Energy Reporter Dan Boyce has the story.

Donna Zofcin’s (Zoff-sin) husband was injured in a coal mining accident in Kentucky.

ZOFCIN: “He got paralyzed.”

More Americans are buying pickup trucks.

The Wall Street Journal reports pickup sales are up more than 10 percent from last year.

Inside Energy’s Dan Boyce tells us sustained low gas prices help explain that.

Josh Letsis is the General Manager at John Elway Chevrolet in Denver,  He’s out in the lot, showing me his top lineup of trucks.

“Yeah, brand new 2015 and we’re…” (fades under)

When gas prices are high, his customers buy a lot of compact cars.

“But now the fuel’s back down, they’re getting back into the pickup trucks and the larger SUVs.”

Gas prices for the labor day holiday weekend were the lowest in more than a decade.

Inside Energy’s Dan Boyce has more…

Figures from the US Energy Information Administration show the last time gas prices were this low for Labor Day was 2004.

The national average of $2 dollars and 50 cents a gallon is almost a full dollar lower than last year at this time.  That national average is about what North Dakota drivers are paying.

Our electricity system is changing rapidly around us.

New sources of renewable power are meeting technologies that can crunch unprecedented amounts of data. 

It’s all leading to a major shakeup for how utilities do business.

In this next installment in our series on the US electricity grid, Inside Energy Reporter Dan Boyce takes us to Fort Collins, Colorado for a peek into our utility’s possible future.

NETH: “I’m Cara Neth, and right now our house is 68 degrees.”

You probably have a pretty good idea of what you last paid for a gallon of gas, right?

OK, now, how much are you paying for a kilowatt hour of electricity?

Perhaps a more difficult question.

As we place more and more demands on our electricity system, there’s evidence reliability is going down.

As part of our ongoing series about the US power grid, Inside Energy Reporter Dan Boyce says public knowledge about the grid is pretty limited.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says the US wastes $19 billion dollars a year on electricity from devices plugged in when we’re not using them. 

Inside Energy’s Dan Boyce tells us that averages to $165 dollars per household per year.

The study released last week came to its conclusions largely through studying the smart meter data of more than 70-thousand California homes.

More than 50-percent of this waste comes from electronics, smart phone chargers, video game consoles, and TVs.

For a week each year, a hotel in Houston, Texas becomes the center of the world of energy.

Energy executives from around the globe as well as top government officials descend on the city for the annual IHS CERA week conference.

Our Inside Energy Team was also there for the event, which drew to a close on Friday. Dan Boyce reports.