High Plains Public Radio

oil & gas

Gary C. Caskey / UPI

The Lone Star State was, for the most part, less impacted by recent economic downturns than other states. Strong recovery in the services and construction sectors helped to keep the state afloat during hard times.

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.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma has now been upgraded to a 5.8, making it the highest magnitude earthquake in the state’s history.

In the wake of this massive quake, CNN Money has published an overview of what we know about these quakes.

Getty Images

There have long been rumblings that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a strong chance of leading Hillary Clinton’s Interior Department if she wins the White House. It’s a position that has often gone to popular lawmakers from the West. But now, as Politico reports, a blockade from the green wing of the Democratic Party could dash Hickenlooper’s hopes.

Spencer Selvidge / Texas Tribune

A new study predicts that, within the next ten years, Texas will lead the nation in sicknesses linked to ozone-forming pollutants.

These pollutants are a byproduct of oil and gas activity, reports The Texas Tribune.

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.

Flcelloguy / Wikimedia Commons

West Texas has experienced one of its worst oil slumps ever in recent years. But this week, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there are signs that a long-awaited recovery may be coming soon.

A recent Wall Street land grab in the Permian Basin has energized the market, and sent some shares soaring. Blackstone Group LP announced last week that it has agreed to invest $1.5 billion toward drilling in West Texas.

Getty Images

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.

AP photo

Oklahoma’s oil and gas economy is showing the first signs of growth in nearly two years. The good news comes courtesy of an energy index used to track movement in the energy economy.

As News 9 Oklahoma reports, data collected in May showed a three-point increase in the index over the previous month. Before May, the index hadn’t shown growth since October of 2014.

Rural Blog

Last year, there were 640 oil spills in the US that affected groundwater or surface water in some way. As The Rural Blog notes, many of these crude oil spills go unnoticed and unreported.

In the last seven years there have been 2,500 reported spills. And that number is probably low due to underreporting.  Some oil and gas agencies don't even track spills at the state level.

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.”

Andrea Morales / New York Times

Oil workers in Texas can breathe a bit easier this month. Some oil and gas industry experts have predicted that the market has, finally, bottomed out. And now it appears maybe those predictions are coming true.

Energy producers across Texas cut 900 jobs last month. That’s not great news by any means, but it’s much better than the seven to 8,000 jobs the industry eliminated in January and February, reports Fuel Fix.

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.

Scotty J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly/The Guardian/Getty

In 1999, the federal government found big tobacco companies guilty of racketeering under the US’s RICO law, traditionally used to go after organized crime syndicates. The Feds found that big tobacco had knowingly funneled money to fake research groups whose job it was to disseminate “science” claiming that smoking wasn’t, in fact, bad for you.

blackhillsenergy.com

Black Hills Energy has purchased a natural gas transmission pipeline in southwest Kansas from Anadarko Natural Gas Co., reports The Garden City Telegram. The Kansas natural gas utility closed on the sale this week of the 37-mile length of pipeline.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The decline comes after the state’s efforts to curb the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its underground operations.

Richard Carson / Reuters

Due to its large deposits of shale oil, the United States has more recoverable oil available than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. The information comes from a new report by Norwegian consulting group Rystad Energy.

The study contends that the US currently holds an estimated 264 billion of barrels of reserves in existing fields, discoveries and yet to be discovered fields.

That’s eight billion more barrels than Russia has, and over 50 billion more barrels than the Saudis.

Robin Jerstad / Texas Tribune

School districts in oil producing regions across Texas have been struggling in the aftermath of the oil bust, reports The Texas Tribune in its new series “Rough Patch: How plunging oil prices are reversing fortunes across Texas.”

Thompson Reuters

The US Securities and Exchange Commission last week accused Texas-based oil and gas driller Breitling Energy Corp of fraud on a massive scale. The corporation’s chief executive and seven other employees were charged with defrauding investors of around $80 million. The federal agency accused the driller of misleading investors about the value of the company’s oil and gas assets, reports Business Insider. 

Naveena Sadasivam / Texas Tribune

A new book by a member of a think tank in Texas insists that renewable energy creates “false hope,” reports The Texas Tribune. In a talk last week, Kathleen Hartnett White praised fossil fuels and called the advent of fracking “breathtaking.” White directs the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. While she spoke, protesters outside the event did their best to make their displeasure at her message known.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Summer travel season is here, and it brings good news for Oklahoma travelers. Despite heavy demand, Oklahoma gas prices remain among the cheapest nationwide, reports The Duncan Banner.

The national average for regular gas prices continues to rise. But Oklahoma’s average has only moved up by two cents in the last three weeks. It now sits at just $2.15 a gallon.

National Park Service/CPR

It looks like Western Colorado may be sitting on quite a bit more energy than experts believed. In fact, as Colorado Public Radio reports, the western part of the state has 40 times more natural gas than previously thought. However, it’s unlikely the extra gas will produce another oil boom, as tapping the energy would only send prices lower.

Continental Resources/WSJ

Even with today’s low oil prices, producers are still finding places where they can profitably drill. In Oklahoma and West Texas, notes The Wall Street Journal, some companies are still managing to thrive in today’s struggling oil economy. One area of Oklahoma known as the Stack, for example, is still producing solid returns.

Ann Saphir / Reuters

Oil prices are creeping up, and that means energy companies are tentatively starting to drill again, Reuters reports. Many drillers are starting to be optimistic that this time they really are on the other end of the horrific two-year slump. The downturn has caused oil outfits to shed employees and hemorrhage profits. Now as wells in the West Texas Permian Basin are again becoming profitable, producers are finally taking baby steps to crank up output.

Paul Lowry / Texas Tribune

Slumping oil prices aren’t just hurting oil and gas companies. Many landowners see the effects when they visit their mailbox, reports The Texas Tribune. The energy downturn is eating into the monthly checks royalty owners receive for oil production on their property. However, while it’s little comfort, the slowing income can also mean their tax bills will plummet.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As fracking activity in Oklahoma proliferated, the frequency of earthquakes in the state began to skyrocket. And as the quakes increased, so did the tension between federal and state researchers about the causes of the rumbling. So StateImpact Oklahoma decided to take a closer look at that feud. What they found was unsettling, though perhaps unsurprising to many. As earthquake activity spiked, federal scientists with the U.S.

Bloomberg News

Following Texas’s lead, Colorado’s Supreme Court has ruled that local municipalities in the state are not allowed to ban fracking, according to The Wall Street Journal. Cities like Fort Collins and Longmont had previously sought to halt the controversial drilling technique. But now the state’s high court has deemed those local laws “invalid and unenforceable.”

Eric Kounce / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in 12 years, Texas job creation has been lagging behind the rest of the nation. The numbers come from a new study by the Austin non-profit Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “The ‘Texas Miracle,’ as our state’s nation-leading economic engine has been dubbed, is currently on ice,” said Dale Craymer, the author of the report.

Ibraheem Al Omari / Reuters

Oil prices are set to plunge again, reports quartz.com. Oil producers gathered in Doha this weekend in an attempt to freeze production in the glutted crude oil market. With the news of the proposed production freeze, oil prices had recently soared by more than 30%. But the various oil interests failed to reach an agreement.

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