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Oil and Gas Roundup — Oct. 7

October 07, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas news from around the state, nation and world:

Oklahoma gross tax receipts reach new high, buoyed by oil, gas

Gross tax receipts reached a new high for the third consecutive month, Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller said at a news conference Thursday.

The gross production tax collections of oil and natural gas topped the list, up by more than 31 percent from this time last year.

Gross collections for September were at $1.01 billion, up $19.52 million or 2 percent from one year ago, Miller said.

“The turnaround in gross production tax collections up over the prior year for the fifth month in a row — is most encouraging,” he said. “After 17 months of falling gross production numbers, it's good to see the positive trend and the effects it has on our state and businesses.”

According to the treasurer's monthly report, personal income and sales tax collections also were higher than in September of last year, and only corporate income and motor vehicle taxes dropped lower than the previous year.

Sales tax collections also were up from last September by $13.11 million, or 3.7 percent.

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U.S. rig count down 17 this week, settles at 1,744

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by 17 this week to 1,744.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,362 rigs were exploring for oil and 376 for gas. Six were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,848 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained four rigs, New Mexico increased by three and Pennsylvania added two.

Texas dropped the most, losing 11 rigs, Louisiana dropped five, Alaska and West Virginia decreased by three and Arkansas, Utah and Wyoming each lost one. California, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

— Associated Press

This just in: The U.S. is an energy superpower

A new item by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms what we’ve been reporting for a while now: the U.S. is an energy superpower. The EIA predicts that in 2013, the U.S. will be the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Not every hydrocarbon is equal—the U.S. produces about the same amount of natural gas as it does petroleum, at least in terms of the BTUs of energy those fuels can produce. Saudi Arabia, by contrast, produces nearly all petroleum—and with oil running north of $100 a barrel and tradable around the world, Saudi Arabia’s oil is more valuable than America’s gas, which can’t easily be exported.

But there’s no denying how astounding—and how real—America’s energy revolution has been, as the EIA indicates:

“Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States. Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined hydrocarbon output by about 1 quadrillion Btu over the past five years.”

The main drivers behind that increase—aside from high energy prices, which always encourage more drilling—are better hydrofracking and directional drilling technologies, which have allowed energy companies to exploit oil and natural gas resources in shale rock that were long considered uneconomical.

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Canada eyes Bakken as an example

A Canadian delegation visited the Bakken region this past week to see the uprising North American oil play.

David Ramsay, Minster of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Minister of Transportation for the Government of the Northwest Territories, toured multiple Bakken sites in an effort to see what the NWT needs to prepare for with its projected oil play.

Ramsay said oil underneath the Northwest Territories is still in the exploratory phase, but companies do have a few rigs ready to drill.

As the most recently successful oil play in North America, the Bakken was an easy choice to visit and learn from for the minister.

“I thought there’d be a lot more going on,” Ramsay said. “Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot going on. With what I heard about the Bakken, I was expecting a lot more drilling and a lot more activity, but it’s good to finally get a chance to see it and its not big, bad and scary like a lot of people make it out to be.”

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Poll gives results on HF, domestic oil production

More than half of Americans don’t know the recent oil boom has increased domestic energy production, according to a new poll, which also showed increased opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

Fewer than half of respondents to the national Pew Research Center poll — 48 percent — correctly said U.S. energy production has increased in recent years.

That stuck out to North Dakota Petroleum Council spokeswoman Tessa Sandstrom.

“That’s pretty interesting, especially considering the amount of attention the Bakken and North Dakota does get,” she said.

Pew research associate Alec Tyson also found that statistic interesting, and said it may be because for many, energy news just isn’t part of their “day-to-day knowledge.”

Or maybe it’s a sign of a bigger problem.

“People really take for granted energy,” said Vicky Steiner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.

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