Oil and Gas Production: Set to New Areas
According to an ongoing study by an Oklahoma Geological Survey scientist, energy market conditions account for at least 41 percent of wastewater disposal cutbacks from oil and natural gas production in the state over a nearly two-year span, with regulatory actions comprising the rest.
The industry experts point to the SCOOP (South Central Oklahoma Oil Province) and STACK (Sooner Trend Andarko Canadian Kingfisher) regions as the next prime oil and gas developments in Oklahoma with a handful of companies pouring billions of dollars into acquiring rights in the past few years.
Scientists believe the vast amounts of wastewater injected into the Arbuckle the past several years likely will keep triggering quakes for years to come.
Director of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Division, Tim Baker, said to the best of his knowledge there are no new permit applications for Arbuckle wells in the SCOOP and STACK plays because they are "much too expensive and unnecessary" for operations in those producing formations.
Kyle Murray, OGS hydrologist had told the Tulsa World what economic trends likely contribute 41 percent of the decline salt water disposal volumes in the earthquake area of interest. Oil prices plummeted over seven consecutive months by more than $50 a barrel, from a high above $100 a barrel in June 2014 to less than $50 a barrel in January 2015. A downward trend continued into 2016. Murray said that if the state is serious about managing induced seismicity, regulators must be plugged into market conditions and how the industry reacts.
Industry experts see the future of fossil fuel production in Oklahoma as being in the SCOOP and STACK. The two shale plays predominantly stretch across several counties west and south of Oklahoma City.
President of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association, Chad Warmington, called the SCOOP and STACK "world-class reservoirs" that weren't discovered until about five years ago. He said that four companies have invested $3.5 billion in the past two years simply obtaining acreage and rights to drill in the SCOOP and STACK. Those companies are Devon Energy, Newfield Exploration, Cimarex Energy and Marathon Oil.
Chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Kim Hatfield, induced-seismicity work group, also lauded the SCOOP and STACK's "superior economics". He said that oil companies are making decisions each day on where to invest in infrastructure suggesting Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming may already be or are becoming better options than Oklahoma.