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energy

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The most practical alternative to earthquake-triggering oilfield disposal wells is for energy companies to reuse the wastewater instead of injecting it underground, leaders of a research group working on behalf of the state said Wednesday.

Avoiding Injection

Signage at Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City campus.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

For the second time in as many weeks, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy found a buyer for thousands of leasehold acres, and analysts are reacting positively to the transaction.

Chesapeake already sold about 40,000 profitable acres in northern Louisiana, so it wasn’t a surprise when the company announced this week it found a buyer for another swath of land in the Haynesville Shale.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Oklahoma oil and gas regulators on Tuesday released details on new guidelines created to reduce earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing in two of the state’s most-booming oil and gas fields.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York on December 7, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Donald Trump wants Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce ally of fossil fuel companies and one of the EPA’s biggest opponents. The nomination draws a sharp line dividing industry and environmentalists that could test the limits of another big fight: state sovereignty.

A Republican president created the EPA. Using words and phrases that, today, might jeopardize his career before it ever left a state GOP primary, Richard Nixon urged Congress to sign off on what he called his “environmental agenda.”

Trucks lined up at a disposal well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator for the first time will issue guidelines designed to reduce earthquake activity linked to hydraulic fracturing.

Shane Matson, with BlueJacket Energy, addresses Osage Nation members, oil and gas producers and staff from federal regulatory agencies during the Osage Minerals Council’s Oil and Gas Summit Wednesday at the Osage Casino Hotel in Skiatook.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

Leaders of the Osage Nation want to develop oil and gas on their land in northeastern Oklahoma. The tribe's Minerals Council told attendees at a conference Wednesday in Skiatook they’re ready for another energy boom.

The Osage Nation can’t approve drilling on its own land. That authority rests with the federal government. Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear wants to develop a plan to pay for infrastructure that could help the oil and gas industry produce more. He said royalties will benefit children and grandchildren of the tribe.

Monthly wastewater injection into disposal wells in the Arbuckle formation from 2000 to July 2016. A team of Stanford scientists found earthquake rate changes follow changes of the injection rate with a time delay of several months.
Science Advances

Scientists may have a promising seismic forecast for Oklahoma over the next few years: A lot less shaky with a smaller chance for damaging earthquakes.

Newly published research bolsters a growing body of scientific findings linking the state’s earthquake boom and the underground injection of large amounts of wastewater from oil and gas production, but suggests the shaking could taper off after 2016.

Donald Trump campaigning at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From board rooms to drilling rigs, much of the U.S. fossil fuel industry has been counting down the days until President Barack Obama turns over the keys of the White House. Donald Trump doesn’t officially take the wheel of the nation’s energy policy for a couple of months, but Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry says its prospects have already improved under the president-elect.

A drilling rig in northwestern Oklahoma's Mississippi Lime oil and gas play.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma legislators are under pressure to fund teacher raises and pay for health insurance coverage, workers comp, criminal justice initiatives and state prisons from a pool of money that could be $600 million short of what’s needed.

Earthquake damage at a home in rural Pawnee County, September 3, 2016.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Attorneys are asking a judge in Pawnee County to approve a class-action lawsuit against oil and gas companies after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the area in September.

A rig hand on a Triad Energy horizontal drilling operation near Alva, Okla. Company CEO Mike McDonald says he likely wouldn't have drilled the well with out a tax break Oklahoma's House Speaker has proposed making permanent.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energy industry experts say Oklahoma’s oil and gas plays could soon become the hottest in the country due to several geological factors that make it a good place for commodities.

Graphic showing stress change after the 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck near Fairview in February 2016.
American Geophysical Union

Wastewater injection into clusters of high-rate disposal wells likely triggered a 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck western Oklahoma in February 2016, new research suggests.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say Oklahoma oil and gas regulators should “consider a moratorium” of waste-fluid disposal in its most seismically active areas.

The suggestion was made in the federal agency’s annual review of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s oversight of disposal wells, which Energy Wire’s Mike Soraghan obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request:

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson both say energy policy needs to be included in the national political debate, but they disagree on a transmission line project that would move wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee.

Fallin currently chairs the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and Hutchinson takes over that role next year. Both spoke Monday at the group's annual conference in Little Rock.

Fallin says she supports the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project designed to move up to 4,000 megawatts of wind energy.

Mona Denney surveys earthquake damage inside her home near Pawnee, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Geological Survey is upgrading the strength of an earthquake that shook the state on Sept. 3 to 5.8 magnitude. That change makes the Labor Day weekend temblor the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma. The quake is the latest in a seismic surge researchers say has largely been fueled by the oil industry practice of pumping waste fluid into underground disposal wells.

Donald Trump at a campaign stop at the Oklahoma State Fair in September 2015.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development.

If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it.

Donald Trump delivered his first major speech on U.S. energy policy at a petroleum conference in the capital city of one the country’s most oil-rich states, Bismark, North Dakota.

Gary Matli, a field inspector supervisor for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, checks on a Craig Elder Oil and Gas disposal well located east of Guthrie, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The oil and gas industry practice of pumping waste fluid into disposal wells is likely responsible for Oklahoma’s exponential surge in earthquake activity.

Trucks lined up at a disposal well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is still experiencing an unusually large amount of shaking, but the rate of earthquakes recorded in 2016 is down from last year.

The slowdown is likely due to reductions in the amount of waste-fluid the oil industry is pumping into disposal wells, which are thought to be causing most of the shaking.

Wind turbines at dusk
Samir Luther / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma remained No. 4 in the U.S. in installed wind power capacity during the second quarter of 2016, but a national industry group expects the state to move up the ranks by the end of the year.

No new wind farms have been completed in recent months, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association, but more than 1,100 megawatts are currently under construction, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

Customers pump gas at the OnCue Express at Interstate 35 and S. Fourth Street in Moore.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A new study from JP Morgan Chase found that low gas prices led most consumers to spend their money on restaurants and retail, rather than increasing savings or paying down debt.

Oklahoma City’s drop - as a portion of income – was three or four times greater than many other large metro areas, even when regional price differences are factored in, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

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