oil & gas

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.

Catmoz / Creative Commons

A professor of Energy Management at Rice University in Houston is warning that Hurricane Harvey may have a bigger effect on the nation’s oil supply that previously thought.

In an editorial in the D.C. political newspaper The Hill, Bill Arnold writes that Harvey is only the latest in a series of factors that have put pressure on the production, refining and distribution of crude in the U.S.

Creative Commons

The oil and gas industry has largely been supportive of the Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate energy. But now, as POLITICO reports, some in the petroleum realm are growing worried that the administration’s no-holds-barred approach could backfire.

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.

phillipsblackhawks.com

For The Amarillo Globe-News, John Mark Beilue has written a remembrance of a bygone place that still holds a lot of nostalgia for some former residents.

Phillips, Texas, was founded near Borger during the heyday of the oil boom in the 1930s. The town swelled in the 1950s with Baptist and Methodist churches and businesses like the Jolly Drug, the 66 Cleaners and the Ostrum Grocery.

Public Domain

Oil rigs in Oklahoma are being taxed through a dual-rate structure that may not be the best method of insuring that oil and gas profits are benefiting the state in the most effective way possible.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, oil rigs are taxed at a much lower rate during their first three years. But half of a well’s lifetime oil and gas production usually occur during those first three years.

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.

Oil tug-of-war featured in New York Times article

Jun 20, 2017
HITCHHACKING / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The oil market is featured in a New York Times article that highlights the years-long tug-of-war between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - which has attempted one failed tactic after another to conquer the oil glut that is expected to suppress prices for at least another year - and companies continuing to tap into shale reserves across the U.S., driving oversupply and low prices.

Eben McCue / StateImpact Oklahoma

For decades, the oil and gas industry has been promoting the benefits of fossil fuels in America’s public-school classrooms.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, companies like BP and Shell have spent millions of dollars on K-12 curricula, speakers, and after-school programs, all designed to paint oil, gas, and coal in a rosy light.

Jeff Raymond / Oklahoma Watch

Amid the budget talks during Oklahoma’s recently concluded legislative session, one of the major sticking points revolved around how much to raise the production tax on oil and gas companies.

As Oklahoma Watch notes, while Oklahoma is theoretically a two-party system, it often seems as though there’s a third party in the room during important economic discussions. That third party is the oil industry.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago when President Donald Trump was rumored to be on the fence about whether to abandon the Paris climate agreement, 22 Republican Senators sent him a letter urging him to back out of the deal.

The letter’s signatories included Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, and both Senators from Texas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.

Certain sectors of the oil and gas industry have supported leaving the Paris accords, assuming deregulation will drive oil profits.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

For years Oklahoma’s oil companies have insisted they’re missing out on huge profits due to a law that prevents horizontal drilling more than a mile long. Producers have tantalized state lawmakers with indications that altering the law would fill the state’s coffers—an attractive proposition giving the state’s budget gap of almost $900 million.

San Antonio Express News

After a staggering downturn in the state’s oil and gas fortunes over the past few years, Texas appears to be entering what look to be better days ahead, reports the San Antonio Express-News.  

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma continues to see a drop in the frequency of earthquakes in the state, after fracking regulation was put in place to quell the seismic activity.

But, as The Wichita Eagle reports, regulators are working to ensure that the number of earthquakes doesn’t rise again in the Sooner State.

Paul Locke / Flickr Creative Commons

Oil and natural gas operations may be linked to childhood cancer, according to a new study by the University of Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, children who grow up near oil and gas drilling are statistically more likely to contract leukemia between the ages of five and 24. The study was peer-reviewed, and published in an online multidisciplinary journal last week.

CGP Grey / Flickr Creative Commons

Oil prices appear to be rebounding from their slump, leading to optimism in High Plains oil fields.

But, as The New York Times reports, there’s one important element of the recovery that still hasn’t come through: jobs.

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.

FuelFix

Protesters have been amassing in West Texas, down near Big Bend, to challenge the construction of yet another oil pipeline.

As FuelFix.com reports, the activists are setting up to oppose the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. The protest camp is made up of a combination of environmentalists and ranchers who own the land where the pipeline is being built. The pipeline is being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners, an outfit in Dallas.

Creative Commons

After finally rising to over $50 dollars a barrel, oil prices have begun to slump again as U.S. producers continue to expand output.

As Bloomberg reports, U.S. drilling rose last week to its highest level in over a year. The expanded production comes after OPEC followed through on its promise to ramp down production. In the wake of the OPEC announcement, Russia also cut its drilling operations.

The Oklahoman

The number of new oil rigs has soared recently in Oklahoma, as well as nationwide, The Tulsa World reports.

The rise of the rigs can be attributed to recent optimism in the oil and natural gas sectors.

According to the oilfield service company Baker Hughes, the number of rigs in the U.S. jumped by 35 this week. That’s the largest weekly gain in almost five years. Oklahoma added seven new rigs.

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.

HITCHHACKING / Flickr Creative Commons

When OPEC curbed production last year, oil producers on the High Plains saw a potential end to the slump that has crippled small-town communities in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.

Bloomberg News

Last year saw the worst oil downturn in a generation. Exploration outfits slashed spending, and oil discoveries were the lowest they’d been since the 1950s.

But, as Bloomberg reports, the good news is there’s probably nowhere to go but up.

In 2016, oil companies discovered about 14 percent less oil than they had in the previous year—and 2015 was itself a slow year for exploration. Last year’s discovery total was America’s lowest since 1952.

Joe Mabel

Want to know what a green alternative to regular diesel is? Used vegetable oil.

EGE of Minneola, Kansas takes used cooking oil from over 200 restaurants in Kansas and parts of Oklahoma and converts it to biodiesel, the Dodge City Globe reports.

Wesley Orr, who works for EGE recently gave a small group from Pratt, Greensburg and Minneola a tour of the facility.

Gas prices continue to steadily increase

Jan 5, 2017
AAA

According to AAA, the national average gas price as of Tuesday was $2.34 per gallon, the highest New Year fuel prices since 2014. 

Eddie Seal / San Antonio Express News

Texas oil production is on an upward trend, reports the San Antonio Express News, and oil and gas producers in the Lone Star State are hoping the upswing will continue into 2017.

Rafael Aguilera / Texas Tribune

In the wake of the collapse in oil prices over the past several years, Texas and Oklahoma have seen a different kind of boom. In these states, there’s been a surge in abandoned oil drilling sites.

To make matters worse, the areas that generally have abandoned rigs generally don’t have the funds to clean the sites. As The Texas Tribune reports, wildcatters have been punching holes in the hard West Texas caliche for almost a century.

Ed Schipul / Creative Commons

Oil and gas officials in Oklahoma continue to celebrate OPEC’s decision to reduce its output, reports The Norman Transcript.

As Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry put it, “The move is good news for Oklahoma, where the oil and natural gas industry is the backbone of the state’s economy.”

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters/CSM

For years, analysts feared the world had reached a peak in the supply of crude oil, and that supplies would begin to diminish rapidly as demand increased, sending prices skyrocketing. This situation is known to analysts as “peak oil.”

Now, as The Christian Science Monitor reports, the opposite phenomenon may be occurring. That is, the world may reach peak demand before it ever gets a chance to hit “peak oil.”

CNBC

Oklahoma oil billionaire and fervent Trump supporter Harold Hamm is tempering some of his optimism about the prospect of an oil boom under Trump.

In a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer, Hamm predicted that U.S. oil production would double under Trump, creating thousands of new jobs. In the wake of OPEC’s decision to cut production, Hamm said on Thursday that he believed U.S. fracking operations could double output if they went “flat out.”

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