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oil and gas

Chesapeake Energy Headquarters
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A northern Michigan judge plans to issue a ruling on whether Chesapeake Energy should stand trial on racketeering charges that accuse it of leasing land to thwart competitors and then canceling the deals when the competition ended.

U.S. Energy Information Agency

There were 211 drilling rigs operating in Oklahoma last week, the state’s highest level in almost six years, Bloomberg’s Lynn Doan and Richard Stubbe report.

well site
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck near Prague, Okla., in November 2011 toppled Sandra Ladra’s chimney, raining rocks “on her lap and legs.”

Ladra on Aug. 4 filed a lawsuit against energy companies that operate disposal wells she claims caused the quake. She is seeking $75,000 in actual damages plus punitive damages, the Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle reports.

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.

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Supreme Court on July 29 heard a lawsuit and constitutional challenge to House Bill 2562, a measure that would change the effective state tax rate levied on oil and gas production.

Both parties agreed that the measure was written to reduce taxes, but is HB 2562 a “revenue bill?” That definition is important because this court battle isn’t about policy, it’s about procedure.

Retired Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent.
Brent Fuchs/Journal Record

A state Supreme Court referee heard a lawsuit Tuesday over a recently signed bill that was written to lower taxes for oil and gas drilling. The outcome of the constitutional challenge could go well beyond Oklahoma’s oil field.

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent filed the lawsuit in June.

He argues the oil and gas tax bill is invalid because the Legislature ignored extra procedural burdens voters in the ‘90s placed on “revenue bills.” 

A lawsuit over recently signed legislation that changes state oil and gas tax rates will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, a constitutional challenge that could have broad impact on industry and legislative procedure.

I broke down the lawsuit on an Oklahoma News Report segment with OETA’s Dick Pryor, which you can watch above. But there are five things you need to know about today’s hearing, which could hinge on legal subtleties and word interpretations.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

The discovery of two barn oils coated in oil has prompted an investigation of a “neglected” oil field site in northwest Oklahoma.

Both owls died, the Enid News & Eagle reported Tuesday.

Sam Beebe / Flickr Creative Commons

In the wake of deadly derailments, fiery explosions and dangerous spills, the federal government in May ordered railroads to share with state authorities more information about some crude oil shipments.

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.

Waterkeeper Alliance Inc. / Flickr Creative Commons

Surging oil production in states like North Dakota has outpaced pipeline capacity, and the energy industry has turned to railroads to transport oil from fields to refineries.

The Oklahoma Senate
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

From the start of the legislative session on February 3rd, StateImpact Oklahoma had its eye on what was sure to be a heated issue: the coming expiration of a tax credit for horizontally drilled oil and gas wells. Without action, rates would go from one-percent for the first four years of a well’s life, back to 7 percent.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

An attorney who has successfully challenged the constitutionality of legislation in the past is urging Gov. Mary Fallin to reject a tax incentive for oil and gas production that he claims is unconstitutional.

Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent hand delivered a letter to Fallin's office Tuesday urging her not to approve the bill. Fent says it was passed during the last week of the legislative session in violation of a constitutional requirement.

An oil well near a neighborhood in Yukon, Okla.
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

An alliance of national and state environmental groups on Tuesday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set air pollution limits on oil and gas wells and production equipment.

Don Millican, the Chief Financial Officer of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Kaiser-Francis Oil Company has a lot in common with other storied Oklahoma energy empires. The company has by-the-bootstrap entrepreneurial origins, it’s been battered by boom and bust, and it’s helmed by a billionaire CEO who has weathered controversy and been showered with praise.

But the Tulsa-based exploration and production company is unique in one surprising way: It isn’t pushing for oil and gas tax cuts.

Imagine you're in a college-level architecture class and your assignment is to come up with an idea so revolutionary that it could be considered an important advance in industrial design.

Meredithw / Flickr Creative Commons

Horizontal drilling has revolutionized the energy industry, and helped unlock oil and gas trapped in tight shale formations that had, for decades, eluded petroleum producers.

But Oklahoma’s oil and gas rules were established when traditional, vertical drilling was the norm. Balancing the regulatory needs of horizontal drillers and vertical drillers — especially those producing in the same formation — can be tricky.

Sarah Nichols / Flickr Creative Commons

The shale gas drilling boom has been a blessing to energy states like Oklahoma, which has low unemployment and an economy that, thanks in part to oil and gas production, was insulated from the worst effects of the Great Recession.

Al Jazeera English / Flickr Creative Commons

Drought and agriculture don’t mix very well. So after three years of intense drought, you might expect rural western Oklahoma communities — where fortunes have traditionally hinged on the condition of wheat crops — to be dying on the vine.

But no. As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, many of these towns are adapting to a new economy with a little help from the oil and gas industry.

Oil And Gas Tax Breaks Leaving Millions On The Table In Oklahoma

Jan 27, 2014
Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

It's not looking good for Oklahoma's budget.

State leaders expect a $170 million shortfall. This year's budget was just half a percent larger than five years ago, without adjusting for inflation. And projections estimate a deficit of up to $2 billion by 2035.

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