KGOU

oil and gas

Oil is a tough business, and when oil prices fall, like they’ve done over the last six months, one of the first things oil companies do is cut back on workers and on the number of drilling rigs.

There were about half as many rigs in March as there were last September, and fewer rigs means more competition for jobs on drill sites.

Since 2009, there’s been a drastic increase in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Many people think it’s tied to an increase in oil and gas drilling, but due to the energy boom, state officials have been reluctant to draw a connection.

On Tuesday, state officials acknowledged the quakes are likely caused by wells used to dispose of wastewater from both traditional drilling methods, as well as hydraulic fracturing.

Richard Masoner / Flickr.com

Oklahoma lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December and January, data from the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission show.

Almost all in-state “mining” jobs are actually in oil and gas drilling, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports. And while the job losses haven’t yet affected the state’s unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, oil sector employment will likely take a big hit in the months to come, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s bulletin The Oklahoma Economist.

roy luck / Flickr

The U.S. has so much crude oil that it's running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

The Energy Department reported last week that for the past seven weeks the United States has produced and imported an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it's using. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, and pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years.

Chesapeake Energy

A judge has barred a Texas-based attorney from contacting Chesapeake Energy Corp. royalty owners about a proposed $119 million settlement covering the company's natural gas wells in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoman reports that District Judge Jon K. Parsley issued a temporarily restraining order last week against attorney Dan McDonald, citing that his "advertising" campaign would disrupt the time between when the settlement is certified and the expiration period to opt out of or object to the settlement.

Six months ago, joining a petroleum engineering program seemed like a good investment. With starting salaries above $100,000 and endless optimism about the shale revolution, enrollment climbed in many programs across the country.

But now that there is an oil price slump, some students are reevaluating their decision. And some departments are already worried about what will happen if low prices stick around. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Stephanie Joyce of Inside Energy reports.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. plunged by 98 this week to 1,358 amid depressed oil prices.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,056 rigs were exploring for oil and 300 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,764 rigs were active.

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

Oklahoma City-based Chaparral Energy is the second energy company in the city to announce layoffs this week.

Chaparral announced Tuesday that it is laying off 121 employees at its Oklahoma City headquarters. Chaparral CEO and Chairman Mark Fischer said low oil prices is a reason for the layoffs.

Fischer said he expects oil prices to rise, but can't predict when that will happen so the company is reducing its capital, operating and administrative costs.

Meredithw / Flickr Creative Commons

A monthly business survey suggests only modest economic growth is likely in nine Midwestern and Plains states this spring because the agriculture and energy sectors are slowing.

The report released Monday says the overall economic index for the region improved slightly to 54.8 in January from December's 54.4.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says growth for companies outside of energy and agriculture should offset the declines in those sectors.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. tumbled by 74 this week to 1,676.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report 1,366 rigs were exploring for oil and 310 for gas. A year ago 1,777 rigs were active.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas' count dove by 44, North Dakota dropped six, Oklahoma fell five, California and Wyoming each lost four and New Mexico declined by three. Arkansas, Kansas and West Virginia were down two each and Colorado, Louisiana and Utah were off one apiece.

Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's treasurer says the state's economy performed well to close out 2014, but that continued low oil prices will eventually start to drag down other sources of revenue like income and sales taxes.

Treasurer Ken Miller released figures on Wednesday that show overall collections by the state in December and in 2014 exceeded those from the prior year. But he warned that December oil and gas production taxes reflect oil field activity from October, when oil prices were around $85 per barrel.

Journal Record

An Oklahoma City-based natural gas exploration and production company says it will merge two affiliates to form one of the largest energy companies in Appalachia.

American Energy Partners LP said Monday that American Energy-Utica LLC and American Energy-Marcellus LLC will merge with more than 300,000 acres in the natural gas-rich Utica and Marcellus shales in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.

The new company, American Energy Appalachia Holdings LLC, will be wholly owned by current shareholders of the two American Energy affiliates.

With billboards pointing toward Oklahoma City and messages about booming careers and less traffic in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources is promoting itself in Houston. The energy company is making a connection, as revealed on online applications.
Continental Resources / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City made national headlines last week when a few stations on the south side started selling gasoline for less than $2 per gallon.

Friday morning West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading below $60 per barrel, with Brent crude right around $63.

Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.

Left-to-right: Economists Robert Dauffenbach, Russell Evans, Mickey Hepner, and Dan Rickman during a panel discussion moderated by Oklahoma City advertising executive Rhonda Hooper
Carrie Snodgrass / Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Several economists praised Oklahoma's metro areas as engines of growth, but criticized state leaders for failing to plan for the long term.

Bonnie Vculek
Enid News & Eagle

Key industry tax breaks in Oklahoma have more than doubled over the past four years and are now costing the state well over half a billion dollars a year, state records show.

The two dozen business tax breaks combined grew from $356 million in 2010 to $760 million in 2014. The 2014 figure is equivalent to just over 10 percent of the state’s $7.2 billion budget, and more than the state spends every year on prisons and public safety.

A Frack Free Denton booth at the University of North Texas. On Nov. 4, voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Crystal J. Hollis / Flickr

Driven by water worries, safety questions and quality of life concerns, residents in Oklahoma and states around the country have pushed for citywide bans on hydraulic fracturing.

Many of those efforts have proved successful, but, in the end, fracking bans might be more about lawyers than voters.

A drilling rig in far northwest Oklahoma City.
Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Crude oil prices have plummeted to the lowest level in three years, a slump analysts say is fueled by reduced demand due to stalling growth in Europe and China, andbooming supply from domestic production in the U.S.

In Oklahoma — a state where, historically, finances have risen and fallen with the fortunes of the energy industry — the tumbling oil price has been met with different reactions from oil and gas company executives, economists and state finance officials.

Oklahoma 12-Month Gross Receipts September 2014
Office of the State Treasurer

 

In a report from the Office of the State Treasurer, revenue collections during September grew by more than 8 percent over receipts from the same month of the prior year, the highest monthly growth rate since April of last year.  State Treasurer Ken Miller announced the revenue increases today as he released the September Gross Receipts to the Treasury report during a State Capitol news conference.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

A Houston-based energy company plans to close its office in Oklahoma City and eliminate up to 97 full-time jobs. 

The Oklahoman reported that HighMount Exploration and Production LLC announced the plans in a letter to the Oklahoma Commerce Department.

The company plans to lay off 48 employees between October 24 and November 3 and says additional cuts are planned.

Last May, Loews Corp. announced the possibility of selling its wholly owned subsidiary HighMount and in August announced the sale.

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