The Norman Transcript


April 30, 2014

Oil and gas operations come under city scrutiny



Off-shore drilling produces natural gas without the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing process. On-shore or dry drilling is another issue.

Natural gas from shale formations — made possible by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — comprises a growing segment of domestic natural gas production and is expected to account for 75 percent of the U.S. supply by 2035, according to IHS, an energy research and services firm.


Little River well is legal: Legal permits for drilling are in effect and have been issued by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the city of Norman at the well known as “Little River No. 1-12H.”

The city water meter was legally rented for use with a temporary permit. Norman city staff does not have the authority to discriminate on who rents a temporary water meter. Other users include builders and Girl Scouts who rent the meters for car washes.

The charge on the temporary meter will be a topic of discussion tonight. Currently, the rate is $2.50 per 1,000 gallons of water, which is slightly higher than the regular commercial rate. During peak usage months in the summer, however, Norman buys water from Oklahoma City for upward of $5 per 1,000 gallons.

The rate charges on the temporary meters can be raised administratively, the city manager said, and do not require a popular vote. Council members will consider several pricing options to be presented by city staff.

Other topics under consideration could include fencing for safety at well sites, landscaping and buffer zones.


Hydraulic fracturing in domestic production: Currently, the Little River well is a drilling operation. The permit specifies that the well will be vertical and horizontal. After a horizontal well is drilled, hydraulic fracturing is used to extract oil and gas.

For a time, the U.S. was considered an energy “has been,” with steadily declining production leading to a heavy dependence on imports. Now, the U.S. has emerged as the world’s largest oil and gas producer in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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