The Woodward News

Local News

August 9, 2012

Horizontal drilling focus of talks

Woodward, Okla. — "Energy in depth, a horizontal view" was the theme and focus of the  inaugural Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention (TSOGC) which was held at the Woodward Conference Center on Thursday, Aug. 9.

Junior Long, chair of TSOGC, said the theme was chosen due to the amount of horizontal drilling that is going on in Northwest Oklahoma and in the tri-state area.

While the convention provided a variety of information and perspectives on the oil and gas industry through breakout sessions and company displays, the 2 keynote speakers who addressed convention attendees mainly focused on the theme of horizontal drilling.

Dana Murphy

The first keynote speaker of the day was Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, an area native, who spoke on how horizontal drilling has made such an impact on the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma.

Across northwest Oklahoma, Murphy said that horizontal drilling is the reason there's been such a resurgence in the oil and gas industry.

"Drilling horizontally allows people to go into formations that were once drilled vertical, that people thought were used up, but now thanks to new technologies are producing once again," Murphy said.

However, she said these new technologies are also bringing up new challenges and concerns, including by royalty owner groups who say horizontal drilling creates questions about who owns the oil or gas, the property owners where the well is located or their neighbors.

"People are visual, and when someone sees a well head, they just assume that is where the product is coming from, when it could actually be coming from the neighbors land," she said.

Murphy also spoke about the challenges that come with hydraulic fracturing, which she said are nothing new.

"We have been getting this information for the last 30 years," she said about the chemicals fracturing companies use to fracture a well.

"The only thing that has changed is the public outcry for more information and what fracturing really is," Murphy said.

"This problem is not going to go away," she said, especially as hydraulic fracturing continues to make headline news.

To see how the state of Oklahoma is addressing fracturing practices, Murphy encouraged people to visit the website, fracfocus.org, to see all the state regulations on fracturing.

"Each state that fracturing takes place in must go through a peer review and Oklahoma was the only state that was not criticized for its fracturing practices," Murphy said.

Several who attended Murphy's address said they found it educational.

Mark Davis said, "I enjoyed her speech, she was very informative."

"Very informative," Jerri Gadberry agreed.  "It was great to have her here in Woodward at our convention."

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