• Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

    Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    The fate of one of the biggest fossil-fuel producers may now depend on its investment in renewable energy. The Saudis burn about a quarter of the oil they produce—and their domestic consumption has been rising at an alarming 7 percent a year, nearly three times the rate of population growth. According to a widely read December 2011 report by Chatham House, a British think tank, if this trend continues, domestic consumption could eat into Saudi oil exports by 2021 and render the kingdom a net oil importer by 2038. Solar, they have decided, is an obvious alternative. In addition to having some of the world’s richest oil fields, Saudi Arabia also has some of the world’s most intense sunlight. (On a map showing levels of solar radiation, with the sunniest areas colored deep red, the kingdom is as blood-red as a raw steak.) Saudi Arabia also has vast expanses of open desert seemingly tailor-made for solar-panel arrays.

  • New state law forces Denton, Texas, to repeal fracking ban

    Published: Wed, Jun 17, 2015

    The Denton City Council said taking the controversial ordinance off the books was in the best interest of taxpayers.

  • High school students to present alternative energy project at national competition

    BY NOUR HABIB, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jun 5, 2015

    Three Jenks High School students have qualified for the U.S. Army’s eCybermission nationals for the third year. Becca Mackey, Riya Kaul and Hayden Hilst — all just out of ninth grade at Jenks — are headed to Baltimore later this month to present a project on an alternative energy source that they’ve been working on since November. “It’s a system that we designed to put in a revolving door so that when somebody walks through it, the kinetic energy that that produces is then harnessed to be put back into the grid or to power an emergency light system or what have you,” 15-year-old Mackey said of their project. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Mounting evidence says injection wells cause Oklahoma's earthquake surge

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jun 4, 2015

    Clarification: The story has been clarified to make clear the directive that disposal wells in the 16-county area injecting below the Arbuckle formation weren't to be plugged completely but were to be made shallower. Mounting evidence pointing to wastewater disposal wells as the culprit behind a six-fold increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma has now placed the onus on government and industry to determine whether current actions are sufficient or more solutions are needed to stop the damage. The latest studies are in a June special section of The Leading Edge, a journal of the Tulsa-based Society of Exploration Geophysicists that provides a forum for scholarly discussion. Harley Benz, director of the National Earthquake Information Center for the U.S. Geological Survey, is a co-author of one of the papers in the special section. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • John Stancavage: Energy layoffs worrisome, but there may be a silver lining

    BY JOHN STANCAVAGE, Tulsa World columnist | Published: Tue, Jun 2, 2015

    Monday’s announcement that Tulsa will lose its Apache Corp. office and 160 jobs marks about the 12th major energy-sector layoff in the area this year. Not all of those other consolidations involved companies leaving the market. Samson Resources and Helmerich & Payne, for instance, are staying but trimming employment. Yet, the continuing downturn in the industry is unsettling. Economist Mark Snead of Oklahoma City-based RegionTrack says there’s bad and good to the situation we’re now in. Read the rest of this column at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Apache Corp. closing Tulsa regional office

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 1, 2015

    Houston-based oil and gas producer Apache Corp., which has maintained a robust presence in Tulsa for six decades, announced Monday morning that it is closing that office which employs 160 people. The Tulsa regional office is shutting down permanently as part of a company-wide restructuring. New CEO John Christmann, who came in earlier this  year, has completed a full review of operations and decided that the firm needed to consolidate from seven regional offices to three. The Tulsa office oversaw Apache drilling in the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. The site, which employed over 200 people at one point before the downturn in crude oil prices, has been in place since the mid-1950s. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • WPX Energy completes $200 million sale of Marcellus Shale assets

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Tulsa-based WPX Energy Inc. divested another property by completing the $200 million-plus sale of a package of Marcellus Shale marketing contracts and the release of pipeline transportation capacity to an undisclosed buyer. The sales are part of WPX's long-term plan to focus on core properties and cut debt. The company received more than $200 million in cash on the natural gas purchase and sales agreements and was released from approximately $390 million in future demand payment obligations connected to 135 million British thermal units per day of firm transportation capacity commitment on Williams' Transco Northeast Supply link project. The company's third divestiture of the year was originally announced earlier this month. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Politico: Inside the war on coal

    Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It’s real and it’s relentless. Over the past five years, it has killed a coal-fired power plant every 10 days. It has quietly transformed the U.S. electric grid and the global climate debate. The industry and its supporters use “war on coal” as shorthand for a ferocious assault by a hostile White House, but the real war on coal is not primarily an Obama war, or even a Washington war. It’s a guerrilla war. The front lines are not at the Environmental Protection Agency or the Supreme Court. If you want to see how the fossil fuel that once powered most of the country is being battered by enemy forces, you have to watch state and local hearings where utility commissions and other obscure governing bodies debate individual coal plants. You probably won’t find much drama. You’ll definitely find lawyers from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, the boots on the ground in the war on coal.

  • Texas Governor Prohibits Cities And Towns From Banning Fracking

    Published: Tue, May 19, 2015

    HOUSTO- Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation, Reuters reports. Lawmakers in Texas, a state that is home to the two of the most productive U.S. shale oil fields, have been under pressure to halt an anti-fracking movement since November, when voters in the town of Denton voted to ban the oil and gas extraction technique. "This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city," Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.

  • Toxic vapors have killed three Colorado oil and gas workers, nine in the U.S.

    Published: Mon, May 18, 2015

    DENVER - Federal officials issued a warning about the danger of inhaling chemicals at oil wells following the deaths of nine workers in the past five years. All the deaths involved people at crude production tanks. Colorado and North Dakota each had three deaths, and Texas, Oklahoma and Montana each had one death. Federal health officials sounded a national alarm over a dangerous trend in America's oil fields. The men died after inhaling toxic amounts of hydrocarbon chemicals after either tank gauging — measuring the level of oil or other byproducts in tanks coming out of wells — or from taking samples of oil for more testing.

  • Bloomberg: Oil CEO Wanted University Quake Scientists Dismissed: Dean's E-Mail

    Published: Mon, May 18, 2015

    The billionaire CEO of Continental Resources told a dean at the University of Oklahoma that he wanted earthquake researchers dismissed.

  • WPX Energy moving jobs to Tulsa

    BY JOHN STANCAVAGE, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, May 13, 2015

    Tulsa-based WPX Energy confirmed Wednesday it is adding jobs in Tulsa. The move, which comes after a layoff of 44 local (83 companywide) employees in March, should result in a net gain for the company at its headquarters. WPX is relocating 53 people to Tulsa from its office in Denver. In addition, it also plans to hire 40 to 50 more workers locally, spokesman Kelly Swan told the Tulsa World in an exclusive interview. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • KOKH: Could Oklahoma be poised for a major disaster?

    Published: Wed, May 13, 2015

    Cushing is known as the pipeline crossroads of the world and Oklahoma is the most seismically active state in the nation, KOKH reports. When you combine those two facts there is a potential for an environmental emergency that no one is prepared to face ...

  • EARTHQUAKES: Hamm says he wasn't pressuring Oklahoma scientist, but seeking information

    Published: Tue, May 12, 2015

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- Continental Resources Inc. founder, chairman and CEO Harold Hamm says he wasn't trying to bully Oklahoma's state seismologist when he sought a meeting in 2013 but simply trying to learn what proof the scientist had for saying hydraulic fracturing was causing earthquakes.

  • WPX Energy reports $67 million first quarter 2015 profit

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, May 5, 2015

    WPX Energy reported Tuesday a $67 million profit for first quarter 2015, or earnings of 32 cents per diluted share. First-quarter 2015 results mark WPX Energy’s third consecutive quarterly profit and more than triples the $18 million that the Tulsa-based oil and gas company earned during the first quarter of last year. WPX Energy said that its operational and financial focus on margins helped overcome commodity prices that drove product revenues down $220 million, or 42 percent, compared to a year ago. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • WPX Energy gaining more than $200 million cash by selling Marcellus Shale marketing contracts

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, May 4, 2015

    WPX Energy, the Tulsa-based oil and gas producer which is working to trim down to core assets and cut debt, announced Monday it is selling some Marcellus Shale natural gas marketing contracts and pipeline capacity in that region of the eastern U.S. An undisclosed buyer will pay WPX in excess of $200 million cash in the deal. The two parties have signed an agreement and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter. The sale includes long-term natural gas purchase and sales agreements, as well as 135 million British thermal units in daily capacity on the Transco pipeline's Northeast Supply Link project. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • KFOR: Pollution spill kills pond fish, upsets Edmond landowner beyond words

    Published: Fri, May 1, 2015

    EDMOND -- Tuesday afternoon, after a Gastar oil rig leaked a saltwater and oil mixture onto a landowners property, shortly after the operations manager of the facility claimed the damage would be minimal, KFOR reports. Now, just a few days later, the property owner says he’s finding dozens of dead fish floating in his pond ...

  • Oklahoma Geological Survey closing Leonard seismic observatory out of cost concerns

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 28, 2015

    LEONARD — After more than a half-century recording the state's every shimmy and shake, the Leonard Geophysical Observatory will close this summer, Oklahoma Geological Survey Interim Director Rick Andrews confirmed recently. "The Leonard Geophysical laboratory is a very old facility," Andrews said by telephone. "The cost savings (from closing it) are very significant." Built in 1961 by the Jersey Production Research Co., a subsidiary of what was then Standard Oil Co., the facility in far southeast Tulsa County was once among the most advanced seismic observatories in the world. For most of the 1990s, it was even used by the Soviet Union to monitor the United States' nuclear testing. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Fortune ranks Williams Cos. as No. 1 most admired U.S. energy company

    FROM TULSA WORLD STAFF REPORTS | Published: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Fortune magazine has ranked Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. as the Most Admired Company among U.S. energy companies in 2015. "This award validates the strong commitment of our employees to focus on doing the right thing and propelling the company forward,” said Williams' CEO Alan Armstrong, in a written statement. “In the last four years, Williams has made great strides executing on our natural gas-focused business strategy, creating value for shareholders and building relationships in the communities where our employees live and work.” Companies considered for the Fortune lists were ranked on nine key attributes of reputation including innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, quality of products/services and global competitiveness. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • National report confirms that Oklahoma is at greater risk of earthquakes

    BY MICHAEL OVERALL, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Oklahoma features prominently in a new report on the risk of manmade earthquakes, with parts of the state shaking more often than quake-prone California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists have identified 17 areas across eight sates with increased rates of "induced seismicity," or earthquakes triggered by human activity. But no area has seen the risk increase as much as central Oklahoma, according to Thursday's report. Seismic activity is 600 times greater now than before 2008. People who live in central Oklahoma didn't need a report from the federal government to tell them that the ground has been trembling more often, but this new risk assessment from the U.S Geological Survey could have a significant impact on the area. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.