• 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.

  • In Pennsylvania, Employment Booms Amid Oil And Natural Gas Bust

    Published: Mon, Apr 13, 2015

    Lower oil and natural gas prices have the petroleum industry laying off tens of thousands of workers . It looks like a decade-long trend of job growth in the U.S. oil business may end. But NPR says there are parts of the country where those job numbers are still rising. Pennsylvania is one of them.

  • Study suggests fracking could release radon from ground

    Published: Thu, Apr 9, 2015

    Levels of cancer-causing radon gas in Pennsylvania homes have increased as the fracking industry has expanded, USA Today reports from a new study. The study is a preliminary "first look" into a possible connection between fracking and radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, says co-author Joan Casey. While the study doesn't conclusively prove that fracking releases radon from the ground, the findings are concerning, says Casey, a researcher at the University of California-Berkeley and University of California-San Francisco.

  • State revenue will fall by 'Dust Bowl proportions' if local ordinances governing drilling aren't curbed, lawmaker says

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    State revenue will fall by “Dust Bowl proportions” unless local ordinances governing oil and gas drilling are curbed, the chairman of a key House committee said Tuesday. “We need this bill to preserve the tax base, preserve the drilling, etc.,” said Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, in debating for Senate Bill 468 , by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, during a meeting of the House Environmental Law Committee that Calvey chairs. When Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, protested that the bill would repeal a local ordinance provision in place since at least 1935, Calvey said: “You hear a lot about local control. It’s used as kind of a shibboleth around here. Folks, I believe in states’ rights, not some amorphous local control.” Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • See which county soared above the state in household income

    BY CURTIS KILLMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Apr 6, 2015

    MEDFORD — Gary Aebi’s timing couldn’t have been any better when he decided three years ago to open an RV park in the Grant County town of Medford in northern Oklahoma. Business took off, thanks largely to the energy boom that sprung from new horizontal drilling and fracking techniques being employed in the area. With 21 stalls, the small RV park was pretty full by 2013, Aebi said. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Samson Resource makes dramatic moves; analyst predicts bankruptcy

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    One Samson Resource Co. official put it this way: The company has "somewhat of a runway" to elevate from its financial struggles, "but it's not very long." A Tulsa money manager put it more bluntly: Samson is probably headed for bankruptcy. Tulsa-based Samson not only is laying off one-third of its workforce, but also has stopped all drilling operations and has an amended deal with lenders that gives it very little financial flexibility in the short-term. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com .

  • Stillwater councilors say energy lobbyists gave ultimatum on drilling-ordinance vote

    BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

    Two Stillwater city councilors say they were told by energy industry representatives that they should delay their vote on a local drilling ordinance or state legislators would pass a law that could “cost the city a lot of money.” The lobbyists and an attorney representing the Consumer Energy Alliance, an energy industry group based in Washington, D.C., told councilors that state lawmakers will approve one of two bills currently before the Legislature. If the council failed to delay its vote on the local ordinance, the lawmakers would pass the bill that is more restrictive of cities’ ability to regulate drilling, the councilors say they were told. Oklahoma-based lobbyists Pat Hall and Jim Dunlap met with council members before their March 23 meeting, during which councilors voted 3-2 to delay a vote on the ordinance. A public hearing on the ordinance had been set for April 6 but was delayed until April 20. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • ConocoPhillips estimates Bartlesville layoffs at less than 4 percent of workforce

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

    Houston-based oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips, which confirmed a round of layoffs beginning this week , has estimated that its reduction in Bartlesville will be less than four percent. On Wednesday, a ConocoPhillips spokesman added to the company's earlier statement, which did not include numbers. ConocoPhillips employs approximately 1,800 people at its support center in Bartlesville "Anytime you have to do these kinds of reductions, it’s always very difficult," said the spokesman with the Bartlesville office. "Our commitment to Bartlesville has not changed. We have been – and will continue to be – a strong part of the community." Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • ConocoPhillips latest oil company to lay off employees due to oil bust

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Mar 31, 2015

    BARTLESVILLE — ConocoPhillips, the nation's largest independent oil and gas producer which employs more than 2,000 people at its former corporate home in Bartlesville, has begun laying employees off there due to the persistent fall in crude oil prices, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday. The company would not confirm how many workers are caught up in the reduction, but various estimates put it in the dozens. ConocoPhillips is laying people off companywide, including at its Houston base. "We have announced that we will have some workforce reductions, and the ones that are made will be driven by lower activity levels as well as the findings of a cost structure review," a company spokesman based in Bartlesville said Tuesday. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com .

  • Samson Resources laying off 196 local workers

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    Samson Resource Co., the privately held Tulsa oil and gas giant beset by huge debt leverage and falling crude oil prices, is laying off one-third of its Tulsa workforce, the company confirmed Thursday morning. Samson is letting go of 196 employees at the Tulsa headquarters and 270 companywide. The reduction will drop Samson's local workforce below 400 people. "As has been previously communicated, Samson Resources is currently in the process of evaluating restructuring alternatives to address the sharp decline in oil and natural gas prices, which have posed huge challenges to the company and to the broader industry," company spokesman Brian Maddox said in a statement. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • New Tulsa energy company springs to life

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Mar 13, 2015

    From where they are standing, striking out on your own to form an oil and gas company in the middle of a downtown is a pretty smart idea. It's all in how you see it. Newly formed Atalaya Resources LLC is the brainchild of longtime Apache Corp. officer Rob Johnston and four of his closest colleagues. Together, they have more than 160 years experience and all have been through the booms and busts. "We, from our vantage point, look at things differently from others," Johnston said from Atalaya's 11th-floor office of the First Place building in downtown Tulsa. "In my time we've experienced about six corrections. There's always an up following a down." Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com .

  • Former oil executive in Oklahoma deal sued by SEC for insider trading while with another oil company

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Mar 6, 2015

    A former executive with a Houston energy firm that bought Oklahoma oil and gas assets from a Tulsa company last year has been sued again by federal regulators in an alleged insider trading scheme involving one of his earlier employers. Gary Williky, who was Petro River Oil Corp.’s executive vice president as of a July 2014 Tulsa World story, is charged with nine counts by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was dismissed from Petro River shortly after that deal was announced. None of the federal counts has anything to do with that company nor its Tulsa transactions. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Coalition will rally at state Capitol to call for moratorium on injection wells, fracking

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    The Coalition to Stop Induced Seismicity is hosting a rally Saturday afternoon at the state Capitol to call for a 12- to 24-month moratorium on wastewater injection wells and hydraulic fracturing. The gathering will take place 1 p.m. at the South Plaza of the Capitol. Organizers said a diverse mix of local and statewide grassroots groups will attend. Grand Riverkeeper Earl Hatley said the group's petition to Gov. Mary Fallin to enact an executive order to suspend high pressure/volume deep well injections and horizontal hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells — fracking — is two-fold. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com .

  • 'Extraordinary denial rate' of 9 in 10 earthquake claims rattles Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak has issued “a loud and clear” message for the insurance industry to handle claims appropriately in response to indications of an “extraordinary denial rate” of nine out of 10 earthquake claims filed in 2014. In a bulletin sent to insurance companies on Tuesday, Doak warned against basing earthquake claim denials on assertions that the quakes were man-made, calling a link between injection wells and earthquakes “unsettled science,” despite several studies to the contrary. The state Insurance Department gathered information from “larger earthquake insurance companies” that indicates that only eight of about 100 earthquake claims filed in 2014 were paid. In the bulletin, Doak noted that he is considering an examination of market conduct “to ascertain the facts surrounding the extraordinary denial rate of earthquake claims that the preliminary data seems to indicate.” Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com .