Minerals Council

Minerals Council developing business plan to address orphan wells

The Osage Minerals Council may be starting 2020 with a new business plan to address unexpected oil and gas production from the area’s orphan wells.

At the council’s Nov. 20 meeting, the Plugging Committee confirmed that it extracted 75 barrels of oil earlier in the week while addressing a purging orphan well. With the now-completed job paid for through its emergency plugging funds, those byproducts belong to the council.

That new acquisition prompted a discussion on what to do not only in this specific instance but also for the future should more orphan wells tackled by the council yield similar results. The Orphan Well Committee has been tasked with developing a comprehensive plan on the matter to present to the council at its Dec. 5 meeting. 

“I am excited to hear this,” Councilwoman Marsha Harlan said. “However, I feel we need to have a solid plan to address this rather than a hastily made resolution. We need to get a plan together for all wells like this, as I’ll bet there are more.”

In other business, the council voted 5-2 to offer a sole source contract to Fred Storer to be a consultant regarding an updated draft of a county-wide environmental impact statement conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on oil and gas drilling in the Osage. The draft was formally published in the Federal Register two days after the meeting.

Councilwoman Marsha Harlan and Second Chair Andrew Yates voted against the offer. Councilor Paul Revard was absent at the time of the vote.

At the meeting, the council also indicated its interest in having the 45-day comment period extended to allow more time to dissect the draft while working around federal holidays in both November and December.

“If we don’t have a strong plan in place, they (the Bureau of Indian Affairs) will just roll over us and make us eat it,” Councilor Talee Redcorn said.