An Eagle Energy Exploration disposal well site in May 2015, where workers plugged-back an Arbuckle disposal well regulators said was drilled too deep.
Researchers studying Oklahoma’s energy industry-linked earthquake surge and state regulators eager to quell the shaking have circled the wagons around a specific class of wells companies fill with wastewater and other fluid byproducts of oil and gas production.
Once it’s injected, these disposal wells transport waste fluid from the surface deep underground, often into the Arbuckle formation.
This formation is popular — and poorly understood. But scientists, state officials and the oil and gas industry are in a rush to figure it out, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth and Paul Monies report in a pair of stories. Here are some key questions about the Arbuckle formation: Continue Reading →
Tanker trucks unloading oil at a Phillips 66 terminal in Cushing, Okla., home to the largest commercial crude oil storage in the U.S.
Phillips 66, a refiner with 700,000 barrels of storage capacity in Cushing, Okla., “has overhauled how it plans for earthquakes, a sign U.S. energy companies are starting to react to rising seismicity around the world’s largest crude hub,” Reuters’ Liz Hampton reports.
The changes include new protocols for inspecting the health of crude tanks, potentially halting operations after temblors, and monitoring quake alerts. Continue Reading →
Dave Taylor, director of the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District, checks on one of the water pumps at the lake's pump house, which send water to communities like Lawton and Duncan.
Oklahoma’s lakes weren’t built to last forever. Over time, dirt and debris are slowly filling them in. Right now, there’s no good way to solve the problem, but cities that rely on Waurika Lake are turning to costly and complicated efforts tosave their water supply from silt.
A report released the oil and gas industry suggests only 0.5 percent disposal wells throughout the U.S. have been linked or suspected as a possible cause of earthquakes, the Tulsa World reports. “However, a spokeswoman for the group acknowledges that many of the studies cited in the report use models rather than actual wells, making such figures ‘speculative.’”
However, the peer-reviewed paper that was cited uses computer simulations of wastewater-injection rates within a set radius of a specific swarm of earthquakes. The parameters don’t cover all of Oklahoma but only 89 wells within 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) of a swarm near Jones from 1995 to 2012. The state has about 3,200 disposal wells. “A lot of these studies do use models like that, and so a lot of it is kind of speculative,” said Katie Brown, spokeswoman for Energy In Depth, noting that the national figures cited in the report are culled from other peer-reviewed studies related to each state’s seismicity and wastewater wells.
Bison on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in northeastern Oklahoma live a quiet life. Most come into contact with humans just once a year. November is a noisy time when fur flies, calves whine and hooves stomp. The chaotic scene is critical to keeping the herd healthy. Continue Reading →
An oil and gas operation in northwestern Oklahoma's Mississippi Lime formation.
As SandRidge Energy struggles with $4.6 billion in debt and a faltering stock price that’s threatening its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the Oklahoma City oil and gas company is facing another problem: Earthquakes and new regulations designed to slow the shaking:
SandRidge Energy Inc.’s most important assets are at the epicenter of Oklahoma’s ongoing earthquake problem. The driller’s precarious financial position, combined with the risk it faces from temblor swarms near its wastewater injection wells, could cause the company to become insolvent if regulators shut down its disposal wells.
The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association said Obama’s rejection was a “continuation of the administration’s war on fossil fuels.” Arnella Karges, the association’s executive vice president, said five supplemental State Department environmental reviews found the Keystone XL pipeline would have “minimal environmental impact.”
On Twitter, Boone Pickens said the Keystone XL saga has been a “national embarrassment and a failure of leadership.” Arnella Karges, the association’s executive vice president, said five supplemental State Department environmental reviews found the Keystone XL pipeline would have “minimal environmental impact.”
On Twitter, Boone Pickens said the Keystone XL saga has been a “national embarrassment and a failure of leadership.”
President Obama announced Friday his administration was rejecting TransCanada’s application for a permit to complete the Keystone XL pipeline, which he acknowledged “has played an “overinflated role in our political discourse” — something for which he blamed both parties,” NPR reports.
The president said that “after extensive public outreach” and consultations, the State Department determined that the proposal “would not serve the national interests of the United States.” He added, “I agree with that decision.” Back in February, Obama vetoed congressional legislation that approved the project. The Senate failed to override that veto in March. The first application for approval of TransCanada’s plan was filed in September of 2008.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan address lawmakers at a legislative study on water Monday, November 2, 2015.
This spring, Oklahoma faced a problem it hadn’t in a while: too much water. Much of that floodwater flowed into rivers and out of Oklahoma — and that’s sparking big new ideas at the state capitol, and rousing an old fight.