oil

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.

More than half the oil and gas a typical horizontal well will produce over its lifetime in Oklahoma is pumped to the surface during its first three years, a new report from Oklahoma Watch shows.

Oil's Pipeline to America's Schools

Jun 16, 2017
ILLUSTRATION BY EBEN MCCUE

Jennifer Merritt’s first-graders at Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor, Oklahoma, were in for a treat. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, the students gathered in late November for story time with two special guests, state Rep. Tom Gann and state Sen. Marty Quinn.

In a late-night committee meeting on Monday, lawmakers passed a measure that raises the gross production tax rate from one percent to four percent, but only on a small, select group of oil wells.

Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston), who is carrying House Bill 2429, says it will bring about $95 million in to the state. The bill would only affect about 5,790 wells drilled between July 2011 and July 2015.

A few weeks ago Julia Chapman's daughter was heading to a playdate across the street in their recently built suburb in Firestone, Colo. Suddenly, the friend's house exploded, killing two of the friend's relatives who were in the basement.

"It shook our home," Chapman says. "We came out and we saw that it was essentially just collapsed on itself. The insulation was still floating in the air, down the street."

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