Tribpedia: Oil And Natural Gas

Ashley and Cody Murray, ranchers in Palo Pinto County, pose with their two children. They allege nearby gas drilling caused methane to leak into their water well before it exploded, severely burning the couple, their four-year-old daughter and Cody's father. Their legal case could put pressure on Texas regulators.
Ashley and Cody Murray, ranchers in Palo Pinto County, pose with their two children. They allege nearby gas drilling caused methane to leak into their water well before it exploded, severely burning the couple, their four-year-old daughter and Cody's father. Their legal case could put pressure on Texas regulators.

Years after well explosion, Texas family still waiting for answers from agency

A North Texas family is still waiting for answers about whether nearby gas production caused their water well to explode and why the Railroad Commission seemed to miss early signs that something like this could happen in their community. 

The land is sinking three-fourths of an inch every month around this abandoned well outside of Imperial in Pecos County, and huge cracks have opened in the area. The Texas Department of Transportation paid most of the $315,000 bill to plug the well in 2009 and has spent at least $1 million fixing a nearby farm-to-market road.
The land is sinking three-fourths of an inch every month around this abandoned well outside of Imperial in Pecos County, and huge cracks have opened in the area. The Texas Department of Transportation paid most of the $315,000 bill to plug the well in 2009 and has spent at least $1 million fixing a nearby farm-to-market road.

In West Texas, abandoned well sinks land, sucks tax dollars

Land around a West Texas roadway used to be flat. Now, it’s fissured, sinking and has cost taxpayers more than a million dollars — all because of a water well that was left unplugged. 

 

Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.
Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.

Rough Patch: How plunging oil prices reversed fortunes in Texas

Amid the recent plunge in oil prices, The Texas Tribune visited various parts of Texas to see how they were being impacted. Read stories from West Texas, South Texas and the Panhandle.

Ty Edwards, assistant general manager of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, points to brackish water flowing from one of several flowing abandoned wells— originally drilled for oil, but later used for irrigation — that no state agency plans to plug.
Ty Edwards, assistant general manager of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, points to brackish water flowing from one of several flowing abandoned wells— originally drilled for oil, but later used for irrigation — that no state agency plans to plug.

Abandoned Texas oil wells seen as "ticking time bombs" of contamination

Texas is among several states grappling with a surge of abandoned drilling sites and dwindling funds to clean them up.

 

Juan Ontiveros manages the University of Texas at Austin's energy system, which generates electricity, heating and cooling for the entire campus — independent of the state's electricity grid. The campus burns less fuel than it did 40 years ago, a time when it enrolled thousands fewer students.
Juan Ontiveros manages the University of Texas at Austin's energy system, which generates electricity, heating and cooling for the entire campus — independent of the state's electricity grid. The campus burns less fuel than it did 40 years ago, a time when it enrolled thousands fewer students.

UT-Austin gets bigger, but its energy bills and emissions are shrinking

UT-Austin’s energy system operates as an island, outside of the electricity grid that covers most of Texas. It's getting more efficient over time, avoiding millions of dollars in fuel costs.

 

Lasse Kjærgaard Larsen manages district heating in Marstal, the biggest city on the Baltic Sea island of Aero. The utility's solar thermal farm — once the world's largest of its kind — meets 55 percent of this city's heating demands.
Lasse Kjærgaard Larsen manages district heating in Marstal, the biggest city on the Baltic Sea island of Aero. The utility's solar thermal farm — once the world's largest of its kind — meets 55 percent of this city's heating demands.

This energy technology gets no respect at all — but it's cutting carbon

Sometimes called the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the energy industry, the district energy concept has fueled Denmark's shift from fossil fuels. Energy efficiency advocates want to encourage more district energy projects in Texas.

A wind farm generates electricity off the coast of Copenhagen. Wind energy accounted for 42 percent of Denmark's generation last year. Four decades ago, the country depended almost entirely on imported oil.
A wind farm generates electricity off the coast of Copenhagen. Wind energy accounted for 42 percent of Denmark's generation last year. Four decades ago, the country depended almost entirely on imported oil.

1 energy crisis, 2 futures: How Denmark and Texas answered a challenge

Facing the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, Denmark shifted from fossil fuels. Texas responded differently. Here's a look at how things went for each.

During the oil boom, Cuero voters approved a $76 million bond to construct a performing arts center and two elementary schools that are still under construction. The facilities are expected to open this fall.
During the oil boom, Cuero voters approved a $76 million bond to construct a performing arts center and two elementary schools that are still under construction. The facilities are expected to open this fall.

Oil Patch Schools Facing Budget Nightmare

The oil bust is threatening to deal a serious financial blow to schools in oil-producing regions across the state — particularly if it lingers. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton testifies how his faith is getting him through his recent legal woes during a speech to a gathering at the Republican Party of Texas gathering in Dallas May 14, 2016.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton testifies how his faith is getting him through his recent legal woes during a speech to a gathering at the Republican Party of Texas gathering in Dallas May 14, 2016.

A Closer Look at the Texas Twist in Fight Between Exxon, Virgin Islands

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to intervene in an effort to thwart an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil misled investors about the risks of climate change. Here’s a guide to Paxton’s effort and how it fits into the much broader climate change battle in the United States.

A pump at an Alvin, Texas oilfield uses carbon dioxide, piped in from Mississippi, to help extract oil.
A pump at an Alvin, Texas oilfield uses carbon dioxide, piped in from Mississippi, to help extract oil.

Former Mayor's "Clean Coal" Effort Struggles

Since leaving office in 2007, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller has been championing "clean coal" technology, but these days plans for a West Texas gasification plant appear to be on life support.

Bruce Jones, president of Perryton-Ochiltree Chamber of Commerce, offered a sip of a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage to a man from Woodward, Okla., on June 16, 1987. The driver was passing by during a town celebration of rising oil prices.
Bruce Jones, president of Perryton-Ochiltree Chamber of Commerce, offered a sip of a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage to a man from Woodward, Okla., on June 16, 1987. The driver was passing by during a town celebration of rising oil prices.

At the Top of Texas, Town Offers Lessons In Oil Bust Survival

Nearly three decades ago, Perryton's town-wide celebration for $20-per-barrel oil made news across the country, delivering a hopeful message to those mired in an oil bust. The Panhandle town faces a modern day oil bust, but residents are sure they'll stay on the map.

A sign opposing the Trans-Pecos pipeline hangs in a neighborhood near where the pipeline could run near Alpine.
A sign opposing the Trans-Pecos pipeline hangs in a neighborhood near where the pipeline could run near Alpine.

Big Bend-Area Pipeline Clears Last Hurdle

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signed off on a stretch of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline that would cross below the Rio Grande, handing a setback to a coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and landowners that sought to thwart the project.

A sign protesting a proposed drilling waste dump near the South Texas town of Nordheim is shown in 2014. The Texas Railroad Commission, charged with only evaluating groundwater effects, approved the waste site plan on May 3, 2016.
A sign protesting a proposed drilling waste dump near the South Texas town of Nordheim is shown in 2014. The Texas Railroad Commission, charged with only evaluating groundwater effects, approved the waste site plan on May 3, 2016.

Eagle Ford Town's Residents Disgusted by Waste Site's Approval

The Texas Railroad Commission approved a permit for a huge oil and gas waste facility outside of tiny Nordheim, ending one of the first organized protests against industry activity in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale.