A motion to get the approval of the council to go before the Osage Nation Congress for a $1.1 million appropriation to build a state-of-the-art data system was on the floor of the March 5 Osage Mineral Council meeting.
Councilmembers became aware of additional funds coming available through Osage Casinos at a late February Osage Shareholder’s Meeting. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear encouraged the OMC to go after some of the funds if it needed any.
It was recommended by the OMC’s Production and Development Committee that the OMC needs to build a data system that is reliable and comprehensible.
“What our experts ran into when they were doing the enhanced oil recovery grant was that there were lots of gaps in the data,” said Susan Forman, Councilwoman. “It was substandard.”
Already in the works is an enhancement for the mapping data system. Councilwoman Forman said, “We still need to do that. But we need to think in the long term for a state-of-the-art comprehensive data system.”
OMC members have ideas for the system and two phases figured out.
“We already have a lot of ideas ready to go. We just don’t have the money. So, this is a very critical piece of getting oil and minerals out of the ground,” said Councilman Talee Redcorn. “The biggest hiccup we’ve got is a lack of good data.”
In the state-of-the-art system, there may be geological mapping and well data information, which is currently being built. However, Councilman Paul Revard said, “this [data system] would be all-inclusive.”
Councilmembers have looked at websites used by U.S. states as they search for ideas for the new data system, all having a website link to their oil and gas department.
Councilman Revard said, “In our case and most of their [states] cases there is a tab for oil and gas. And you go in there, click on that tab and do everything oil and gas, from downloading the state’s form that you have to fill out like our intent to drill, our production reports and every report you can think of.”
When speaking at the Osage Shareholders meeting, Standing Bear stated that data is power. He also informed councilmembers that they would need a sponsor, meaning someone in congress to present the appropriation for or with the Osage Minerals Council. Councilwoman Forman spoke with possible sponsors ahead of the March 5 meeting.
Osage Nation Congresswoman Alice Goodfox submitted bill ONCA 21-32 on March 19 that requests $1.5 million for the data system. The Congress will consider the bill during its upcoming Hun-Kah Session, which begins March 29.
Other council members questioned asking the Nation for more money as the OMC is two years into working on a TERA application.
“I too think this is a great opportunity to do this, but we are also two years into discussing the TERA and what money is going to be allowed to that,” said Councilwoman Margo Gray.
However, Councilman Revard assured that the money the OMC would be requesting is additional funding that isn’t a part of the TERA funding but is what he called a “special situation.”
OMC Chairman Everett Waller spoke about the importance of having a data system. He said the criteria is changing rapidly and things don’t get done quickly when it comes to the BIA. The data system would fix that.
The motion passed five votes to two.