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oil

Oil is everywhere, and in nearly everything: Our phones, our clothes, our food, and our medicine. It has driven industrial progress and technology. It has shaped our civilization, powered its rise. Despite all this, oil has exacted an enormous price: our climate is changing, smog is smothering cities around the world. That all comes, in part, from burning fossil fuels like oil.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will speak to U.S. oil executives in Houston this week about curbing his country’s petroleum production.

OPEC leaders announced last year that they would continue pumping oil, even as a glut crashed market prices and jeopardized U.S. shale oil producers. Recently, Saudi Arabia has pulled back, however, leading to a slight rise in oil prices.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti talks to NPR’s Marilyn Geewax about what it means for U.S. drivers.

Guest

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking at the 2013 Governor's Energy Conference in Tulsa, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 36th annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference in Norman included the usual fare: updates on regional water plans, drought mitigation, and experts from other states sharing their water insights. But Gov. Mary Fallin came with a new idea to save water — and reduce earthquakes.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss the International Olympic Committee easing restrictions on refugee athletes, and a recent International Monetary Fund report describing the effect low oil prices could have on Middle East cash reserves:

Then Suzette talks with Leslie Woodward, one of the founders of the Post-Conflict Research Center in Sarajevo. Her organization works to ease the two-decade-old wounds of the wars in the Balkans.

The Al-Faisaliah Tower in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Al-Deghaishim / United Nations Information Centres

Falling oil prices and continued instability in the Middle East will continue to deplete liquid financial assets in the region’s oil exporters, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF released its Middle East economic outlook report earlier this month, which indicates that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil, could run out of cash reserves in five years unless crude prices rebound.

Oklahoma State Capitol
Joseph Novak / Flickr

There’s only about a month left in Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session, and if bills haven’t made it out of the chamber they started in by now, they’re dead.

American currency
thinkpanama / Flickr Creative Commons

General Revenue Fund collections in November flattened, dropping below prior year receipts and the official estimate, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Services Preston Doerflinger reported Thursday. 

According to Doerflinger's report, November General Revenue Fund collections of $382.5 million were $0.6 million, or 0.2 percent, below prior year collections and $2.2 million, or 0.6 percent, below the official estimate upon which the FY2015 appropriated state budget is based.

Source: Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission

Trains carrying 1 million more gallons of crude oil from the Bakken formation are expected to cross 20 Oklahoma counties each week, data from the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission show.

Explosive, deadly derailments and fiery accidents have raised safety concerns about rail transport of North Dakota Bakken crude oil, which tests suggest might be more explosive than other types of crude oil.

Oil Train Workers Raise Questions About Safety

Jul 10, 2014

Crude oil shipments by rail increased by more than 80 percent, nationally, last year. Most of it is coming from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That crude is more flammable than other types of oil, and has been shown to catch fire and explode when trains derail.

More than 15 trains of Bakken oil move through some parts of the Northwest each week, en route to refineries and terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.

Provided / SandRidge Energy

SandRidge Energy is selling all of its holdings in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company announced early Tuesday morning Fieldwood Energy will pay $750 million in cash and assume $370 million in abandonment liabilities for its Gulf and coastal properties.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

Kerr-McGee, former Oklahoma-based oil and gas company, was sold to Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in 2006. But not before Kerr-McGee transferred polluted sites in more than 20 states to a spin-off company, Tronox Ltd.

A map from the EPA shows the location of the 125-acre Wilcox Oil Company Superfund site near Bristow, Okla.
Environmental Protection Agency

A site near Bristow, abandoned decades ago by a pair of oil refiners, has been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most hazardous national cleanup priorities.

The EPA on Dec. 12 added the Wilcox Oil Company site to the Superfund National Priorities List, a federal program that investigates and directs cleanup efforts at the country’s “most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.”

railroad oil cars on a track
Russ Allison Loar / Flickr Creative Commons

Some of the best new oil and gas plays are in some of the most remote areas of the country, where there’s little to no pipeline infrastructure to move freshly drilled crude out.

And getting the massive amounts of tracking sand to where is a major issue, too. The answer to both problems? Railroads, as The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

A rendering shows a new GE technology center near downtown Oklahoma City. Construction is scheduled to begin April 2014.
GE

General Electric has picked a site near downtown Oklahoma City for the home of its new research center focused on the oil and gas industry.

The center is one of nine globally for the company. Former Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Mike Ming is the general manager of the GE Oil and Gas Technology Center.

Published reports say the new 95,000-square-foot center will be built at NE 10th and N. Walnut Ave., near the University Research Park.

Ming says the company is in final negotiations with the land's owner, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, OCURA.

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