Oklahoma Running Out of Room for Oil as U.S. Hoards Crude in Cushing Hub

A tanker truck pulling into a terminal at the oil hub in Cushing, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A tanker truck pulling into a terminal at the oil hub in Cushing, Okla.

A booming U.S. oil industry has led to near-record amounts of oil production, which has helped drive down oil prices. The energy industry has responded by storing crude instead of selling it at discount rates. That has created a unique situation in Oklahoma, where a major oil storage hub is on track to fill up — completely.

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EPA Settles With Ponca City Carbon Black Plant Owner Over Air Pollution

Photo of the Ponca City Continental Carbon plant from NPR's 2011 investigation Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities.

David Gilkey / NPR

Photo of the Ponca City Continental Carbon plant from NPR's 2011 investigation Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities.

settlement agreement announced Monday between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Continental Carbon will cost the Houston company nearly $100 million.

Continental owns plants in Texas, Alabama, and in Ponca City, Okla., that produce a powdery substance called carbon black, which is used in a variety of everyday items, including tires, plastic, printer ink. Continue Reading

“Crude Oil Storage at Cushing, But Not Storage Capacity Utilization Rate, at Record Level”

While record-breaking amounts of crude oil are being stored inside tanks at the oil hub in Cushing, Okla., the hub itself is not as full as it has been in the past — because the hub itself is growing.

As explained in a previous article, utilization can be difficult to calculate, because EIA’s reported inventory levels also include crude oil that is not in storage tanks. This larger inventory is in pipelines, and includes lease stocks (oil that has been produced but not yet entered into the supply chain), and crude oil in transit from Alaska (which only applies to inventories in the West Coast region). At a national level, including these volumes in storage utilization calculations tends to overestimate storage utilization. At a specific site such as Cushing, though, this is less of a concern because there are no volumes in lease stocks and no crude oil in transit from Alaska.

Read more at: www.eia.gov

Now Showing: Oil Downturn’s Effect on Oklahoma Employment Numbers

Rig Worker

Energy Tomorrow / Flickr

Oklahoma lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December and January, data from the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission show.

Almost all in-state “mining” jobs are actually in oil and gas drilling, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports. And while the job losses haven’t yet affected the state’s unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, oil sector employment will likely take a big hit in the months to come, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s bulletin The Oklahoma Economist.

“Based just on these past basic relationships between oil prices and Oklahoma economic activity, it seems likely that mining employment in the state will decline significantly in 2015,” according to the bulletin. Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Hiring Freeze Shows No Letup in Oil States’ Fiscal Pain”

Oklahoma officials have instituted a hiring and salary freeze and is considering tapping reserve funds to help fill a $611 million budget hole fuled by tumbling oil prices.


While Oklahoma isn’t as vulnerable as some states to tumbling oil prices, it’s increasingly reliant on energy. The industry generates about 14 percent of household earnings, the most in data going back to 1969, said Mark Snead, president of RegionTrack, which provides analysis to the state tax commission.

“Oil is a big factor in Oklahoma’s budget because of the effect it has on the rest of the economy,” Shelly Paulk, deputy budget director, said in an interview. “So when you lose jobs out on an oil rig out in western Oklahoma, that’s income tax that’s not coming in. That’s sales tax that’s not coming in.”

Read more at: www.bloomberg.com

Local Officials Raise New Questions as Anti-Frack Ban Legislation Makes Progress

Volunteers watching the polls in November 2014 in Denton, Texas, before voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Photomancer / Flickr

Volunteers watching the polls in November 2014 in Denton, Texas, before voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.

As legislation written to prevent counties and municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas activities advances through the Oklahoma House and Senate, some city leaders and their advocates say the measures go too far and could have unintended consequences.

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Lack Of Expertise And Equipment Led To Unnecessary Closure A Grand Lake Beach

20150318-Geese001_WEB

Larry / Flickr

In 2011, blue-green algae blooms caused the Grand River Dam Authority to warn the public to avoid bodily contact with the water in northeast Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. So last year, few questioned the decision to keep the Bernice Area beach closed for five months after an algae outbreak there. As the Tulsa World‘s Randy Krehbiel reports “it began with goose poop:” Continue Reading

“U.S. Crude Oil Stockpiles Shoot up as Cushing Sets Record – EIA”

Booming production, low prices and softening worldwide demand has led to record-setting crude oil storage at the oil hub in Cushing, Okla., EIA data show.

Crude inventories rose by 9.6 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 3.8 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 2.865 million barrels, EIA said. The increase brings Cushing to an all-time record since the EIA began tracking the hub. Refinery crude runs rose by 136,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.3 percentage points.

Read more at: www.reuters.com

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