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June 23, 2014

Horizontal drilling fuels latest Okla. boom

OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 4,600 oil and natural gas wells were completed in Oklahoma last year as part of a domestic boom that is affecting many parts of the nation, according to reports filed with state regulators.

Corporation Commission records indicate companies applied for more than 6,000 drilling permits for the second consecutive year. That figure is up from about 4,100 permits in 2009, The Oklahoman reported Sunday.

Mike Terry, president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, said horizontal drilling has opened vast new resources across the country and has renewed activity in Oklahoma’s historic oil fields.

“The Mississippi Lime in northern Oklahoma was considered all but drained just five years ago, but today is it one of the country’s most active areas for oil and gas exploration,” Terry said.

Drillers sought more than 100 permits in 16 counties, most in the western half of the state, according to regulators, while 14 counties received no interest at all.

“Crude oil production in Oklahoma has doubled in the past five years thanks to technological advancements in drilling and well completion methods,” Terry said. “Production will continue to climb as innovation continues and producers take advantage of regulatory and legislative decisions that encourage investment in new oil and natural gas wells.”

The largest oil and gas producers based in Oklahoma also are among the state’s most active drillers.

Oklahoma city-based SandRidge Energy Inc. has largely tied its future to its acreage in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The company initially focused on the Mississippi Lime formation, but since has expanded its operations to reach multiple formations in the Mid-Continent.

SandRidge completed 310 wells in 2013, according to its quarterly reports.

Devon Energy Corp., also based in Oklahoma City, has been active in Oklahoma for quite some time, but it has moved its attention to several counties in northern Oklahoma where its wells can access either the Mississippian or Woodford Shale.

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