Woodward, Okla. —
She may be in a place of awesome responsibility, but unlike many who end up leaving their small hometowns to work in elected government, there is nothing about Dana Murphy that is high browed or inaccessible.
Indeed, the hometown Woodward-girl-turned Oklahoma Corporation Commis-sioner, sometimes answers her own phone in her Oklahoma City government office.
The approachable Murphy will be participating in the 2nd annual Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention slated for Aug. 6-9 at the Woodward Conference Center. She is scheduled to speak during the noon meal on Aug. 7 and take part in a headliner panel discussion scheduled Aug. 8.
Murphy’s 4-point focus
For her part, Murphy plans to address conference goers about the rapidly changing landscape of the oil and gas industry and how those changes might impact industry leaders in the State.
"I am concentrating on 4 areas of focus and overarching those 4 is the theme of looking back to move forward," Murphy said in an interview earlier this week.
These focus areas, Murphy said, are technological changes, water conservation, air quality issues and electrical infrastructure.
She believes it is critical for oil industry leaders to have on their collective radar, the impending intersection of these 4 regulatory issues and get out in front of them.
"The technology changes continue to develop at a rapid pace for drilling development and there is increased development using multiple laterals," she said. "It is changing the way we look at the development of reservoirs now."
There is a rapidly increasing concern and attention being paid to how the oil industry utilizes water, Murphy said.
"In drilling completion and production, recycling and reduced use of water is going to be more important than ever," she said.
The oil industry also has recently become proactive in managing air quality, she said.
Many larger sites have begun adding technology, such as vapor recovery technologies, she said.
In fact, one of the group discussions during the convention will be vapor recovery and what it available now, said Junior Long, chair of the planning committee for the Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention.
For instance, these technologies gather gases which collect in an oil tank battery. In the past these small amounts of gas were vented with a simple venting device placed on top of the tank, but in a growing number of cases, are now collected with a small compressor and used in the supply gas system, which reclaims that for use to run local equipment on the site, Murphy said.
"The utility industry has been dealing with air quality and emissions for some time and that issue has now gained a higher priority in the oil and gas from the drill bit to the burner tips," she said.
In addition, Murphy plans to address how the electrical infrastructure is both impacted by the recent increase in drilling in the northern and northwestern portions of the state, as well as how it impacts the oil industry and its customers, depending on how it adjusts to supply that increased need.
"The proliferation of horizontal drilling has caused an increase in the demand for electricity and this demand is typically for short periods of time, Murphy said. "In areas where the drilling is occurring, it is usually rural and it is served by small cooperatives and that can create a problem of supply."
Murphy believes the "perfect storm" effect of all of these issues coming together at a time when the economy is also demanding the industry be incredibly efficient, creates an unprecedented pressure on the oil and gas industry.
"We did not have this same situation in the far past," she said. "I think operators are having to adjust more quickly and deal with the economic and the environmental concern and all that with the back drop of the public's desire to know."