Oil and Gas Boom Outgrowing Electrical Infrastructure in Rural Oklahoma

  • Joe Wertz

Oklahoma is enjoying an oil and gas boom. But drilling rigs and other petroleum exploration and production equipment are power-hungry machines, and rural parts of the state are having a hard time meeting the electricity demand.

The problem is particularly bad in northern Oklahoma’s Mississippi Lime formation, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

But while the needs of oil and gas companies are immediate, it can take months, even years, to build electrical infrastructure to meet the industry’s needs.

The basic problem: Energy companies are drilling in areas without any power lines, Terry-Cobo reports. One company, SandRidge, has to buy and rent generators to keep rig sites powered.

The company works hard to keep well site power costs in check, but electricity usage comprises 20 to 25 percent of the cost to drill a well, he said. Sosa is working with electric cooperatives in the area to balance the need for power at peak times, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., so the grid isn’t pushed to the maximum.