Oklahoma’s boom in man-made earthquakes has become a national security threat. It’s easy to understand why.
Bloomberg’s Matthew Philips reiterates national security concern over quakes near the U.S. oil hub near Cushing, Okla., which “props up the $179 billion in West Texas Intermediate futures and options contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”
An upsurge of earthquakes linked to the oil and gas industry continues to rattle Oklahoma, but new research suggests most of the significant earthquakes recorded in the state over the last century also were likely triggered by drilling activity. Continue Reading
State oil and gas regulators on Friday expanded limits on disposal wells near Cushing, Oklahoma. The shutdowns and volume limits come amid renewed worry about earthquake activity near one of the country’s largest crude oil storage hubs. Continue Reading
The Obama Administration recently announced stricter limits on ground-level ozone, a smog-causing pollutant closely monitored by environmentalists and the fossil fuel industry. The national rules are designed to address local air quality problems individual states can’t fix alone.
“The Department of Homeland Security has gauged potential earthquake dangers to the hub and concluded that a quake equivalent to the record magnitude 5.7 could significantly damage the tanks,” The New York Times’ Michael Wines reports.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is urging Oklahoma oil and gas officials to issue more regulatory actions to stem the surge of industry-linked earthquakes.
An EPA review that concluded Sept. 29 recommends the Oklahoma Corporation Commission “implement additional regulatory actions … including further reduction of injection volumes,” EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports.
Such restrictions have not been easy for OCC to accomplish. Oklahoma issued its first volume restrictions in August, months after Kansas had implemented such cuts. Commission officials have questioned whether they have authority. More recently, a Tulsa company has challenged the restrictions. Continue Reading
Marjo Operating Co. Inc. is the first oil and gas operator to challenge regulatory actions issued by state regulators attempting to curb an ongoing surge of earthquakes linked to the industry.
In a Sept. 18 filing with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the company said the commission “acted arbitrarily in August when it directed the company to curtail injection at a disposal well that’s part of a de-watering project in Payne County,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:
In its complaint, Marjo said it received commission permission in 2004 to inject produced saltwater at its Vinco 1-18 disposal well at the rate of up to 40,000 gallons per day. The company said that disposal well is an integral part of a larger de-watering operation starting in 2003 that targets the Hunton formation. Continue Reading
State officials say oil and gas rules “are focused on preventing and cleaning up pollution, not preventing earthquakes,” EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford is introducing a bill to remove an expired wind energy incentive from the federal tax code.
The federal Production Tax Credit for wind energy expired in December 2014, but since it’s part of the tax code, lawmakers can extend it by bundling it with legislation to extend other tax credits and incentives. That has happened as recently as July, when a Senate committee voted to extend the PTC as part of a $95 billion bundle of incentives. Continue Reading