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oil and gas

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.

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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