Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Joe Wertz

Reporter

Joe Wertz is multi-platform reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma. He has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

  • Email: stateimpact@kgou.org
  • Twitter: @joewertz

“Regulators Consider Drilling Rule Changes in Oklahoma”

Oklahoma regulators are updating “forced pooling” rules — which allows wells to be drilled if most, but not all, mineral interest owners agree. “Much of the controversy centers on what should happen when a company wants to drill a horizontal well in an area with an existing vertical well,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.


“These issues are more complicated than ever,” Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy said. “The framework of the pooling laws has existed for many years. I don’t think that framework was designed for the world we’re living in now. When the pooling process was put in place, it was not put in place for this.” Owners of the existing vertical wells expressed concern about how their wells should be valued and about how much communication they should have with the applicants before a forced pooling action is taken.

Read more at: newsok.com

“Study Links Increased Drilling With Earthquakes”

A 5.3-magnitude quake that struck Colorado in 2011 was likely caused by wastewater injection, according to a new paper published in the Bulletin of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. The study “adds more detail to a growing body of work seeking to establish and explain the connection between human activity and seismic events, known as induced quakes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


A connection between wastewater injections and induced quakes is rapidly becoming widely accepted in the Colorado-New Mexico region and elsewhere. But a more difficult task for scientists has been connecting specific quakes to injection sites, especially when there also has been natural seismic activity. The new study presents research linking specific injection wells to quake activity in the region using fluid-injection data and seismic monitors.

Read more at: online.wsj.com

Attorney Asks Oklahoma Supreme Court to Dismiss His Challenge to Oil and Gas Law

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenge 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

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenge 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.

An Oklahoma City attorney who challenged the constitutionality of a bill that changed the effective tax rate levied on oil and gas drillers asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday to dismiss his lawsuit.

From The Oklahoman‘s Rick Green:

Jerry Fent, of Oklahoma City, told the court that “upon further consideration and for the benefit of those herein and hereout” he was filing for the lawsuit to be dismissed, with prejudice, meaning it could not be refiled. He said he still has a separate lawsuit pending against an income tax reduction measure.

Continue Reading

“Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So”

The City of Tulsa “has been buying out homeowners and limiting development near the Arkansas River to help prevent flooding from severe storms,” and there are drought-minded efforts to push for more water conservation, the AP reports.


“The messaging needs to be more on being prepared and knowing we’re tending to have more extreme events,” said Graham Brannin, planning director in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Sen. James Inhofe — a global warming denier and author of a book labeling it “The Greatest Hoax” — once served as mayor. “The reasoning behind it doesn’t matter; let’s just get ready.” To be sure, flood control projects and other so-called resiliency measures were taking place long before anyone spoke of planetary warming. But the climate threat has added urgency and spurred creative new proposals, including ones to help people escape searing temperatures or to protect coastlines from surging tides, like artificial reefs. It’s also generated new sources of government funding.

Read more at: abcnews.go.com

Regulator Stepping Up Monitoring and Inspections of Disposal Wells in Quake Country

Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey briefs Corporation Commissioners on new earthquake research.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey briefs Corporation Commissioners on new earthquake research.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has stepped up monitoring and inspections of disposal wells in earthquake-prone regions of the state as regulators, scientists and energy companies gather new information on the links between earthquakes and oil and gas production.

Officials with the Corporation Commission — the state’s oil and gas regulator — are focusing on a small fraction of the roughly 12,000 injection wells where oil and gas waste is pumped deep underground, said the agency’s Tim Baker. Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Creates Seismic Activity Council”

At last week’s energy conference, Gov. Mary Fallin announced the formation of the group, which is “designed to help researchers, policymakers, regulators and the oil and natural gas industry study the state’s ongoing earthquake swarm,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.


The coordinating council will include input from public sector groups like the Oklahoma Geologic Survey, the Corporation Commission, and the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board; research institutions including the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University; industry groups like the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association; and state legislators.

Read more at: newsok.com

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