oil

Oklahoma State Senate

In the ongoing budget saga at the Oklahoma State Capitol, there was some bipartisan movement on Monday in the state Senate. Lawmakers have already agreed to increase the cigarette tax and fuel taxes, but the sticking point has been the gross production tax on oil and gas wells.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would decrease the tax discounts on oil and gas wells after failing to come to another agreement. That bill only required a simple majority (51 percent) of lawmakers to vote in favor.

The U.S. oil industry is trying to find a new generation of workers in a country that is becoming more diverse. But a history of sexism and racism is making that difficult.

A bill that moves approximately $23 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the state’s mental health agency is now heading to the governor's desk. It's the first bill to pass both chambers since the special legislative session began six weeks ago.

House Bill 1081X allocates $23.3 million from the fund to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Senate is trying to break a stalemate between House Republicans and Democrats. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, urging House leaders to include in their budget plans a tax increase on oil and gas production.

The Senate resolution called for a hike in the gross production tax from 2 to 4 percent during a well’s first 36 months of production.

Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is confident his chamber could reach the required three-fourths majority to pass the tax package.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A report from members of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance suggests horizontal drilling and fracking has economically damaged at least 450 older vertical wells in Kingfisher County alone.

In Northern Colorado, there are growing concerns in neighborhoods and communities about oil and gas wells sitting too close to their homes and schools. Last Spring, the danger became clearer when a home exploded in Firestone, Colo., killing two people, after a small pipeline connected to a well began leaking odorless gas into the basement.

Science Advances

A new research paper suggests Oklahoma’s earthquake hazard might not taper off as quickly or as significantly as scientists previously predicted.

The energy industry practice of pumping toxic waste-fluid byproducts of oil and gas production into underground disposal wells is thought to be fueling Oklahoma’s earthquake surge. This activity peaked in 2015 and slowed due to regulations and low oil prices.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A key part in solving the state’s earthquake crisis is the long-term management of an enormous amount of oil-field wastewater likely triggering the shaking. The energy industry is working to solve this billion-barrel-a-year problem, and one promising alternative to risky disposal wells is reusing wastewater instead of pumping it underground.

The oil and gas industry has a love-hate relationship with water.

The people who build oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. have worked in relative obscurity for decades. But a growing number of protests against pipelines are turning some of those workers into activists themselves.

The U.S. produces more oil and gas than any other country, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's led to a pipeline construction boom and a growing protest movement that's had some success delaying projects, notably the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

It's a Saturday at Choctaw High School, but for hundreds of Oklahoma teachers, there's a training class in session. Carrie Miller-DeBoer perches atop a stool monitoring a pair of soda bottles linked with a small length of thin plastic tubing created to mimic enhanced oil recovery, while teaching chemistry fundamentals.

"I love it and my students will be so excited," she says.

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