Tribpedia: Oil And Natural Gas

Tribpedia

For more than 100 years, Texas has been one of the nation’s key producers of oil and natural gas. After the discovery of the Spindletop oil field in 1901, oil production in the state increased at a rapid rate, reaching a peak in 1972. According to the Energy Information Administration, Texas was producing 3.4 million barrels a day ...

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EPA Backs Texas Disposal Well Plan

Although leadership at the Texas Railroad Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency often feuds, staff at each agency has found ways to work together, says Milton Rister, executive director of the Railroad Commission.
Although leadership at the Texas Railroad Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency often feuds, staff at each agency has found ways to work together, says Milton Rister, executive director of the Railroad Commission.

In their efforts to regulate the wells that hold Texas' oilfield waste, state officials have found a surprising ally in the federal Environmental Protection Agency, long a political punching bag in Texas. Support for the plan, expressed in a letter this month, provides a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes collaboration between two agencies whose relationship often appears icy.

Midland ISD Developing "Petroleum Academy"

Midland school officials and area businesses are excited about a planned high school program that will focus on preparing high schoolers to work in the region's booming oil industry. The program would meet new high school requirements while satisfying the job needs of the community. 

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.

Drillers, but Not Fracking, Tied to Tainted Water

Oil and gas activities – but not hydraulic fracturing – tainted drinking water wells atop North Texas’ Barnett Shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus formation, according to a new study. High levels of methane escaped poorly constructed natural gas wells and migrated into shallow aquifers.

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.

Free Speech Case Springs From Fracking Dispute

A tainted water well in North Texas has already stirred national debate about the impacts of oil and gas production. Now it stars in a free speech dispute that has landed in the Texas Supreme Court – the biggest test of a state law meant to curb attempts to stifle public protest. 

The Boom at Rudkin Productions. The newspaper caters to bored oil workers in South Texas.
The Boom at Rudkin Productions. The newspaper caters to bored oil workers in South Texas.

Eagle Ford Sees Another Kind of Boom: Publishing

Drillers’ mad dash to the Eagle Ford has spurred a printing boom, as publishers court new advertisers and audiences — including industry executives, natives of transformed communities and oil workers with little to do in isolated towns.

Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.
Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.

Christi Craddick: The TT Interview

The Railroad Commission's new chairman on the agency's dual role as an industry watchdog and champion, the push to ban fracking in Denton and the commission’s efforts on earthquakes and disposal wells.

 

 

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Railroad Commission Hopefuls Discuss Disposal Well Plan

Two candidates for the Railroad Commission welcomed the agency's newly proposed requirements for disposal well applications, saying they were a good first step in addressing the spate of earthquakes that have shaken up parts of North Texas.

Workers mop up tar sands oil from a creek in the wake of Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline spill, Mayflower, Arkansas.
Workers mop up tar sands oil from a creek in the wake of Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline spill, Mayflower, Arkansas.

Pegasus Pipeline's Partial Restart Concerns Some Texans

The reactivation of a stretch of the 66-year-old Pegasus pipeline has stirred concerns among some Texans who live along its path. Some in communities along the pipeline's path worry that an accident like the 2013 Mayflower rupture could happen in their backyards. They hope the latest step doesn't lead to reopening the entire pipeline.

A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.
A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.

Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Wider Legal Clash

A North Texas town's effort to ban hydraulic fracturing may prompt an unprecedented showdown between two powerful rights: a city's authority to shape development inside its borders, and mineral owners' right to tap their resources. The outcome could reshape Texas law at a time when drilling is causing tension in some urban areas.

Steve Brown (l.) and Ryan Sitton, Democratic and Republican nominees for Railroad Commissioner.
Steve Brown (l.) and Ryan Sitton, Democratic and Republican nominees for Railroad Commissioner.

Race for Railroad Commissioner Revives Overhaul Talk

Several thwarted legislative proposals to overhaul the Texas Railroad Commission — the state's curiously named oil and gas regulator — have resurfaced in the race for an open seat on the commission, illustrating key differences between the candidates' priorities.

BP Wants Unspent Spill Recovery Money Back

Nearly four years after BP awarded Gov. Rick Perry's office $5 million for recovery projects in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, most of the money remains unspent. The company is now asking Texas for its money back. Meanwhile, environmental advocates and local governments say Texas is lagging behind in the recovery effort.

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.

Methane Inquiry Closes, but Questions Linger

Responding to questions about whether fracking has pushed methane to migrate into a North Texas neighborhood’s water supply, the Railroad Commission of Texas last month effectively shut the door on its investigation, saying that oil and gas drilling was not to blame. But independent geoscientists remained divided on the issue.

State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Steve Brown, the Democratic candidate for Texas railroad commissioner.
State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Steve Brown, the Democratic candidate for Texas railroad commissioner.

Railroad Commission's Media Policy Draws Concerns

A recent news report on the Railroad Commission of Texas' practice of preventing staffers from talking to members of the media has raised questions about the agency's transparency efforts, with a key Republican lawmaker and a Democratic candidate for railroad commissioner among those expressing concerns.

 

 

Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

For Texas Royalty Owners, Not All Money Comes Easy

For landowners and mineral owners in Texas’ hottest drilling plays, the state’s boom means long-lasting windfalls — if those lessors know what to look for in negotiating contracts. With new educational efforts, advocates for royalty owners hope to bolster their position.

Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas.
Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas.

Railroad Commission Sides With Driller on Well Protest

UPDATED: The Railroad Commission on Thursday sided with Marathon Oil Company’s bid to dismiss a groundwater conservation district’s protest of its application to inject waste into part of South Texas’ Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer.

Gov. Rick Perry is shown on Nov. 15, 2013, at an Austin kickoff rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's re-election campaign.
Gov. Rick Perry is shown on Nov. 15, 2013, at an Austin kickoff rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's re-election campaign.

In Letter, Perry Faults Obama's Energy Policies

In a letter sent Friday to President Obama, Gov. Rick Perry accused the president of waging a war on coal and kicking the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline. Perry suggested that Washington should follow Texas’ lead in spurring energy production.

Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.
Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.

Mayors: Texas Must Act Faster on Earthquake Study

More than six months after a series of earthquakes surprised parts of North Texas, the mayors of two shaken-up towns told a state House subcommittee Monday that the state has moved too slowly in investigating what’s behind the phenomenon.

 

 

More than six months after a series of earthquakes surprised parts of North Texas, the mayors of two shaken-up towns told a state House subcommittee Monday that the state has moved too slowly in investigating what’s behind the phenomenon.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.
Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.

Old Drilling Logs Help Researchers Map Brackish Water

As drought grips most of Texas, researchers are combing the state's 1.5 million drilling records to map brackish water in the state's 30 aquifers — hidden resources that could help quench the state’s long-term thirst.

Galveston Bay near the Texas City Dike and the Valero Refinery in Texas City, Wednesday March 26, 2014.
Galveston Bay near the Texas City Dike and the Valero Refinery in Texas City, Wednesday March 26, 2014.

Galveston Bay Oil Spill Leaves Hundreds of Birds Oiled

While the Houston Ship Channel is open and fishermen have mostly resumed their activities in the bay, wildlife officials have reported hundreds of dead and dying birds covered in oil as cleanup efforts continue in the aftermath of a fuel oil spill late last month in Galveston Bay.

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Abbott, Davis Oil and Gas Records Show Contrast

Neither Greg Abbott nor Wendy Davis has spent much of their gubernatorial campaigns talking about the energy industry and regulations. But Texans should have little trouble distinguishing their positions on the issue. As a lawmaker, Davis has a detailed record, and Abbott has staked his position in the courts.

A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel on March 22, 2014.
A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel on March 22, 2014.

Despite Galveston Spill, Gulf Beaches Getting Cleaner

The tanker collision that sent up to 168,000 gallons of fuel oil into Galveston Bay on Saturday has stirred major concerns about environmental impacts. But even as tar balls wash ashore this week, Texas’ beaches are far cleaner than they were decades ago.