KGOU

oil and gas

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.

A crude oil tank farm in Cushing, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Cushing oil hub is crowded with hulking oil tanks, miles of pipeline and countless pumps, compressors and other equipment used to ferry around the roughly 80 million barrels of crude stored there.

Oklahoma has experienced a swarm of earthquakes, which seismologists say might be triggered by disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, and it’s not hard to imagine the havoc a little earth-shaking might have on the high-profile oil hub.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

World Views host Suzette Grillot is in the middle of a four-city tour of China on behalf of her day job as the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. She lived in Beijing for a semester as a teaching fellow at Beijing University in 2007, but she’s there now with the College’s Assistant Dean, Rebecca Cruise.

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.

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 House Speaker T.W. Shannon will author legislation to make permanent an oil and gas industry tax break for horizontal drilling.

The incentive lowers gross production taxes from 7 percent to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production, and was installed in the ’90s to encourage the then-experimental type of drilling. Now days, most oil and gas wells in Oklahoma are horizontally drilled, and critics say the incentives are unnecessary.

Hydraulic fracturing and modern oil and gas drilling use a lot of water, a commodity that’s in short supply in northwestern Oklahoma’s booming oilfield.

To get their water, energy companies lay temporary pipelines atop private property, but a county commissioner and a class-action lawsuit are raising questions about the common practice.

Oklahoma has never been known as earthquake country, with a yearly average of about 50 tremors, almost all of them minor. But in the past three years, the state has had thousands of quakes. This year has been the most active, with more than 2,600 so far, including 87 last week.

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