fracking

Bureau of Land Management

The hydraulic fracturing process of extracting oil and natural gas—better known as “fracking”—requires that millions of pounds of sand be pumped down each shale well.

For years, Texas fracking operations have used Northern White Sand, mined in Wisconsin, for their wells.

But now, as Forbes reports, cheaper oil prices have producers looking for ways to cut costs, and many Texas fracking wells are looking for sand a bit closer to home.

Steve Jurvetson / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

The state's endangered species chief says a plan to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard is facing a "significant threat" from companies that mine the fine-grain sand that oil producers use for hydraulic fracturing.

Sarah&Boston / Flickr Creative Commons

After a bit of a seismic hiatus, earthquakes returned full force to Oklahoma last week, reports KOTV.

Beginning Tuesday night, Oklahoma was pummeled by at least 11 different earthquakes of magnitude three or higher, according to the United States Geological Survey.

No major damage was reported.

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The oil and gas industry in Colorado over the past four years has put millions of dollars into campaigns for politicians and for public relations.

As The Denver Post reports, the oil and gas industry has poured more than $80 million into Colorado to shape public opinion and influence campaigns and ballot initiatives, creating a political force that has had broad implications throughout the state.

Sirdle / Flickr Creative Commons

In a new report, the top scientists in Texas have concluded that the hydraulic drilling process known as fracking pollutes the air, erodes soil and contaminates water.

As the San Antonio Express-News reports, the report also confirmed other studies that have found that wastewater disposal from fracking can lead to seismic activity.

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Two recent explosions in Colorado have prompted renewed debate about the proximity of oil and gas operations to homes.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, just over a month after a home in Firestone, Colorado exploded, killing two men and severely injuring one woman, another explosion in nearby Mead killed one man and injured three others.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A new study has found that the most practical way to deal with leftover wastewater from fracking sites is to reuse the water rather than simply disposing of it. As StateImpact reports, the report from the Produced Water Working Group suggests that wastewater injection can be reduced by reuse.

ARS TECHNICA

A federal judge last week moved to dismiss a lawsuit that environmental group Sierra Club filed against Oklahoma energy companies over earthquakes linked to oil and gas activity.

As KOSU reports, the Sierra Club filed the lawsuit last year in hopes the U.S. court would find Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and New Dominion violated federal waste management laws by operating injection wells that contributed to earthquake activity in the state.

Ed Schipul / Creative Commons

U.S. oil production is on the rise once again, opening the door for another showdown with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

As The Denver Post reports, in just over nine months, the number of U.S. drilling rigs has grown 91 percent to 602. Meanwhile, production has gained more than 550,000 barrels a day since the summer, rising above 9 million barrels a day for the first time since April.

Hitchhacking / Flickr Creative Commons

As Colorado’s oil and gas industry begins to recover from one of the hardest downturns in recent memory, some communities have launched fights against proposed projects that they say are larger in scale.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, residents of Garfield County and the cities of Greeley and Broomfield have launched fights against proposed projects.

Frac sand in demand with uptick in oil rigs

Feb 20, 2017
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With an uptick in oil rigs, concerns about the supply of frac sand, the key component of drilling, are also arising.

As Business Insider reports, oil producers have added hundreds of rigs in U.S. oil fields from Texas to North Dakota. A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. rig count hit 591, the highest since October of 2015.

Tim Evanson / Flickr Creative Commons

Like other High Plains states, Colorado’s oil and gas economy is in a position to help propel it forward.

As The Denver Post reports, oil prices rose after recent OPEC production cuts and are now high enough to motivate producers to put more rigs to work and translate into more domestic production, said Erica Bowman, chief economist with the American Petroleum Institute.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to the fracking boom, the Obama administration set forth regulations to limit fracking on public and tribal lands. The rules marked the administrations most concerted efforts to control the controversial method of extracting oil and gas. But those regulations have been challenged by oil-friendly states, and have been stalled in federal court for years.

NewsOK.com

This week Oklahoma regulators released new regulations in hopes of further reducing the frequency of earthquakes in the Sooner State.

As The Oklahoman reports, this "fracking" plan is an expansion of previous responses to earthquakes linked to wastewater disposal wells. Recently the state has seen rapid development in the SCOOP and STACK formations in west central and south central Oklahoma. Almost half of Oklahoma’s 78 drilling rigs are in those two areas.

Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency this week released a report on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.

As The Rural Blog reports, this will be the final EPA report during the Obama administration. The study struck out a controversial phrase that had appeared in last year’s report, which stated that researchers had found no evidence of widespread impacts to drinking water supplies.

Ars Technica

Oklahoma could be in for a lot less shaking according to a research study that shows earthquake activity slows as wastewater injection is reduced.

Ars Technica

Oklahoma’s earthquake rate has declined significantly since late May, reports Ars Technica. And things should be improving even further, according to a new study from Stanford University.

The improvement comes after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered wastewater injections to be reduced earlier this year.

Ars Technica

Attorneys in Oklahoma are laying the groundwork for a massive class action lawsuit surrounding the recent profusion of earthquakes in the Sooner State.

Cori Duke / KJRH

A prominent Oklahoma geologist says, when it comes to earthquakes, the trouble could come from unknown quarters. Specifically, the director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey is worried about what scientists don’t understand about geology.

Hutchinson News

The severity and frequency of earthquakes in Colorado appears to be lessening, reports The Hutchinson News.

In the past three weeks, there has been just one quake of magnitude 2.0 or greater in the Sunflower State. Only one resident in the state felt that earthquake, which was centered underneath Anthony’s Forest Park Cemetery.

Getty Images

Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than any state in the lower 48, including California. And, as CNBC reports, the cause of all this shaking appears to be manmade. But can anything be done?

fivethirtyeight

In early 1952 an Oklahoma City petroleum geologist named William Atkinson raised eyebrows by purchasing earthquake insurance for his home.

His odd decision looked like a bit of psychic brilliance a month later. In April of that year Oklahoma City experienced a powerful earthquake—the most powerful in the state’s history until last week.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images/WSJ

Apache Corp. has high hopes for a new oil field in West Texas, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The energy giant announced last week that the overlooked “Alpine High” region potentially holds the equivalent of at least two billion barrels of oil. “Alpine High,” is an area near the Davis Mountains in far west Texas.

USGS

Oklahoma fracking operations are facing a potential backlash in the wake of last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Bloomberg reports.

Last year, Oklahoma had almost 900 earthquakes of magnitude three or higher. Earlier this year Oklahoma regulators limited the disposal of oilfield wastewater in the state, hoping to prevent seismic activity. But this latest quake may trigger calls for more limits on wastewater wells in the state.

KFOR.com

Some Oklahoma drivers have grown concerned about the structural integrity of the state’s bridges after last week’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake.

Stephen Collector / Getty Images

The recent anti-fracking effort in Colorado has failed, reports CNBC.

Fracking opponents in the state had been rallying to get two measures onto the ballot that would further regulate the controversial energy extraction process. On Monday word came that both initiatives failed to make the ballot.

AP photo

Groups fighting the proposed anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado are spending more than 35 times what supporters of the measure are investing, reports The Colorodoan.

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Two anti-fracking measures could find their way onto Colorado’s November ballot. But that’s not necessarily good news for the state’s Democratic Party, reports Politico.

John Leyba / Denver Post/Getty

Last Monday, anti-fracking proponents in Colorado turned in a petition featuring nearly 200,000 signatures. That means the state is one step closer to having two statewide fracking referendums on the ballot this fall, reports CNBC. The petition reached the requisite signature number over the weekend thanks to a last-minute push by advocates.

The effort is supported by a grassroots coalition called “Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking.”

Rural Blog

It’s no secret wastewater injection wells linked to fracking have led to a staggering rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But now, notes The Rural Blog, oil and gas companies appear to have discovered a method to reduce man-made seismic activity.

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