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oil and gas

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The battle over Oklahoma’s tax on oil and gas production could soon spread outside the State Capitol to dinner conversations and public debates across the state.

A group of small oil and gas producers said despite recent efforts in the Legislature to raise the gross production tax temporarily to 7 percent on some wells, it will forge ahead with trying to put a state question on the 2018 ballot that would set a permanent 7 percent tax on all wells.

Oil drilling and production is on the upswing in many parts of the country. In the Permian Basin of West Texas, output has doubled over the past five years. But the boom in Texas has a byproduct that producers are less excited about: oil theft.

A demonstrator holds up seven fingers to send a message to a House committee that lawmakers should remove discounts and incentives so all oil and gas wells are taxed at 7 percent.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

In this Wednesday, June 8, 2011 file photo, sun sets behind an oil pump in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain.
Hasan Jamali / AP

 

In 2003, Mike Stice was the chairman of the National Petroleum Council’s supply committee. They reached a consensus on the status of oil in the United States: The country was out of oil and gas.

“Of course, you can see today, we were so wrong,” Stice said.

Now the dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Earth and Energy, Stice says emerging technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing, have created a whole new supply of oil and gas in the United States.

 

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.

SandRidge Energy sign
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Monday morning Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy formally filed for bankruptcy.

The move wasn’t unexpected among energy observers, but one of the interesting things about this particular filing is that SandRidge has almost twice as many assets as it does debt.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Senate passed legislation Thursday that would fill nearly one-tenth of a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year.

Senate Bill 1577 eliminates a tax credit for economically at-risk oil wells, saving the state over $132 million. Under the bill, no tax credit claims can be made on marginally-producing wells from calendar year 2015 and beyond.

oil pump jack
Paul Lowry / Flickr

It’s been another volatile week for Oklahoma’s energy industry, and many of the state’s oil and gas companies released earnings report for the final quarter of 2015 that continue to paint a grim portrait of the economic downturn.

 

Chesapeake Energy's Losses Rattle Oklahoma Economy

Feb 9, 2016

The Oklahoma company Chesapeake Energy’s stock value plummeted Monday. Over the past year, the stock is down more than 90 percent.

Chesapeake is the second-largest natural gas extractor in the U.S. and a major employer in Oklahoma. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Brian Hardzinski of KGOU in Oklahoma City about how Chesapeake Energy’s struggles are affecting Oklahoma’s economy.

Gov. Mary Fallin and Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague at the Governor's Energy Conference September 4, 2014 in Oklahoma CIty.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday approved the transfer of nearly $1.4 million from the state emergency fund to strengthen Oklahoma’s earthquake response.

The money is going to a pair of agencies tasked with researching the earthquake surge and regulating the oil and gas activities likely causing it.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board project coordinator Jason Murphy samples water in the frigid Canadian River east of Oklahoma City.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's economy runs on oil. The energy industry drives 1 in 5 jobs and is tied to almost every type of tax source, so falling oil prices have rippled into a state budget crisis.

Crude oil prices have dropped more than 70 percent, and that's created problems across government agencies in Oklahoma. Jason Murphy is a project coordinator for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. He slides on a pair of waders, unspools a sensor probe and splashes into the frigid Canadian River east of Oklahoma City.

Oilfield trucks line up at Overflow Energy's Oakwaood No. 1 disposal well in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A string of widely felt earthquakes is rattling residents and seismologists, who are warning that parts of Oklahoma could be primed for more severe shaking.

More than 5,700 earthquakes shook the state in 2015 — a record year of seismic activity in Oklahoma. The New Year is off to a shaky start.

Chesapeake Energy employees leave buildings after layoffs were reported Sept. 29, 2015.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

The downturn in energy prices dominated the news cycle in Oklahoma in 2015, affecting the bottom line of every oil and natural gas producer, the state’s budget, and had countless trickle-down effects in a state with an economy so reliant on the energy sector.

The price plummet actually started in June 2014, when oil was still above $100 per barrel. They rapidly declined, beginning 2015 at around $55, and currently sit in the $30-40 range.

Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City campus
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Pennsylvania's attorney general is suing one of the nation's largest producers of natural gas over claims it cheated thousands of landowners who signed drilling leases with the company.

The lawsuit alleges that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. tricked landowners into signing one-sided leases in the early years of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom and then improperly deducted certain post-production expenses from landowner royalties.

The lawsuit seeks restitution and civil penalties. It was filed Wednesday in Bradford County.

Rebecca Cruise talks with energy analyst Andreas Goldthau, who says if Europe embraces technology like hydraulic fracturing, it’ll reduce the reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

But first, Joshua Landis analyzes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s surprise visit to Moscow this week to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on both current and future military operations in Syria. 

A Rosneft oil rig drilling near Ugut, Russia.
Tatiana Bulyonkova / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The year-long drop in crude oil prices has caused economic anxiety across the globe, especially in so-called “petrostates” that rely heavily on oil and natural gas to drive their economies.

Workers in an oil field near Seminole, Okla., in 1939.
Russell Lee / Library of Congress

An upsurge of earthquakes linked to the oil and gas industry continues to rattle Oklahoma, but new research suggests most of the significant earthquakes recorded in the state over the last century also were likely triggered by drilling activity.

When Denton, Texas, voted to ban fracking in the town last year, the state’s oil and gas industry jumped into high gear. The day after the vote, the industry and the state filed lawsuits against Denton. The Texas legislature also passed legislation that stops local governments from regulating most drilling. From Here & Now contributing station KUT, Mose Buchele explains how this “ban on the ban” came about and why Denton just overturned its fracking ban.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials say an open-flame heater on the floor of an oil rig likely sparked a December fire that killed three and injured two in Coalgate. 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says this wasn't the first time the company that owns the rig was cited for using a heater on an oil rig floor, the McAlester News-Capital reports.

President Obama’s plan to combat climate change relies heavily on replacing coal with natural gas. That would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that electric plants pour into the atmosphere.

But some question the climate benefits of burning natural gas because its main component, methane, comes with it’s own problems.

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