oil

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

First, it was state Democrats like minority leader Scott Inman, who have long argued Oklahoma’s taxes are too generous for oil and gas companies.

A group of small oil and natural gas producers in Oklahoma have formed an alliance and are asking the Legislature to increase the gross production tax back to 7 percent, saying the industry is committed to helping solve the state's budget crisis.

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance announced Monday it plans to ask lawmakers to get rid of a generous tax cut on oil and natural gas production that was approved by the Legislature in 2014. That bill dropped the tax rate from 7 percent to 2 percent for the first few years of production, when oil and gas wells are most profitable.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in a rushed vote by the Senate last Friday, after Democrats pushed to delay the vote.

Democrats knew that there was a batch of about 3,000 of Pruitt's emails from his time as Oklahoma chief legal officer, supposedly showing his close ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Emails made public Wednesday show newly confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt coordinated with the fossil fuel industry and political groups to fight federal environmental regulations when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Iraq Monday on an unannounced visit that seemed aimed to reassure Iraqi allies. He told reporters that, despite President Trump's earlier statements to the contrary, the U.S. does not plan to seize Iraqi oil.

"All of us in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and I'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future," Mattis said. "We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."

Amber Hall / The Takeaway

Cushing, Oklahoma is a few miles north of Oklahoma City and is known as the oil and gas pipeline crossroads of the world. The town sets the market price for oil and with oil prices low, it's experiencing a shake up, both figuratively and literally.

The U.S. could become a net exporter of energy in coming years, according to the federal government's Annual Energy Outlook 2017. This continues a trend the Energy Information Administration has highlighted before in its annual report.

Royal Dutch Shell has signed a provisional agreement to develop oil and gas fields in Iran, a move that could signal energy companies will not be deterred from doing business with the Islamic Republic despite uncertainty whether a Trump administration will scrap a nuclear deal agreed to by world powers.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From board rooms to drilling rigs, much of the U.S. fossil fuel industry has been counting down the days until President Barack Obama turns over the keys of the White House. Donald Trump doesn’t officially take the wheel of the nation’s energy policy for a couple of months, but Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry says its prospects have already improved under the president-elect.

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