OERB Restores 7,000th Well Site

Roland Belveal, the District 1 manager for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, became ill by what he saw at Lake Oologah.

Belveal had not been on the job long in 1983 when he surveyed the counties in his district. What he saw in the land surrounding Lake Oologah 23 years ago overwhelmed him.

“At that time, I realized we could do nothing about it,” Belveal said, referring to the flowlines, tanks, salt scars and abandoned well sites he found.

The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board restored the surface at abandoned well sites, while the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plugged wells.

The sites date back to the early 1900s, when modern environmental regulations were nonexistent.

A total of $9.3 million has been spent to date as the OERB restored 226 sites near Oologah Lake at a cost of $300,000, OCC plugged 300 wells at a cost of $500,000 and EPA plugged more than 1,000 wells at $8.5 million.

At the time, however, Belveal was overwhelmed with the task to clean up the area.

“We began immediately to deal with these wells, but we barely scratched the surface,” he said.

Even after the worst wells were plugged, there was no agency to clean up the surface damage.

“There was no vehicle – state statutes did not allow the commission to spend money to do anything about it,” he said.

The OERB on Aug. 15 marked the clean up of 7,000 sites since the program’s inception 13 years ago.

In 1998, five years after the OERB was created, Belveal spearheaded the Oologah Lake project.

At the time the OCC could only plug about 50 wells a year due to a lack of funding, he said.

Belveal contacted the EPA and secured federal funding.

However, the agency’s focus was mostly on plugging wells.

“That opened the door for OERB to come in and clean up surface damages, leaving the land exactly as it was 100 years ago,” Belveal said. “It took a lot of people thinking outside the box and doing things that had never been done before. And now pollution from oil and gas at Lake Oologah is history.”

OERB spent $12,000 restoring five sites on land owned by Janet McDaniel. Restoration activities included burying concrete; removing flowlines, debris and tanks; dispersing hydrocarbons and closing pits.

McDaniel is thrilled to have her property restored.

“It’s a great thing,” McDaniel said. “I have more acreage now, so I’ll hopefully be able to support more cattle and more goats. My goal is to eventually live off the land.”

EPA project manager Chris Ruhl said OERB has been a tremendous help with the success of the Oologah Lake project.

“OERB has been a great partner for the EPA and OCC,” he said. “They have allowed us to leave the landowners in a happier place.”

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said the City of Tulsa greatly appreciates the partnership behind OERB’s 7,000th site restoration. “For our citizens, this program, and in particular, this 7,000th well site restoration near Oologah Lake, will help assure land productivity and drinking water quality for over a half a million residents of the Tulsa region for years to come.”

The state’s enormous oil discoveries and production from the past is like a feast, Belveal said.

“We’ve had the feast,” he said. “All the dishes have been left on the table and somebody has to clean it up.” ?

Aaon Reports Record

Sales Higher Earnings

Tulsa-based Aaon Inc. reported that revenues were up 30 percent for the quarter, reaching a record $59.1 million.

Revenues were up from $45.3 million during the same period a year ago.

Aaon’s net income rose 10.6 percent to $3.45 million, or 27 cents per share, compared to $3.12 million, or 24 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.

The increase in sales was due to an increase in the commercial and industrial construction activity, said Norm Asbjornson, president and CEO.

During the six months of the fiscal year, Aaon reported net sales were up 27.9 percent to $112.7 million. During the first six months a year ago, Aaon reported net income of $88.1 million. Earnings rose 12.3 percent to nearly $7.2 million, or 57 cents per share, compared to $6.4 million, or 50 cents per share.

Based upon the current backlog of orders plus the continuing trend of strong incoming orders, 2006 sales will be “significantly” above 2005, Asbjornson said.

Meridian Moves

On the Sooner Trend

The Meridian Resource Corp. recently purchased exploration acreage in the producing trend of the Sooner Trend in north-central Oklahoma.

Financial details were not disclosed. Initial drilling operations will begin near the end of the year, the Houston-based company reported.

The Sooner Trend runs through the Hunton/Woodford formations. Meridian continues to reposition and expand its asset base through a combination of newly formed joint ventures and acquisitions in six specific regions of the domestic United States.

Depths in this play range from 7,000 to 8,000 feet. The company owns about 7,000 acres with plans to expand.

Avondale Resources

Production Increase

Tulsa-based Avondale Resources Corp. reported production rose on its Cottonwood unit after repair work was performed on seven wells.

Repair work and more wells coming online impacted production, said Tom McCord, president.

“Short-term plans include work on the company’s Esso leases, Knife Unit and Norfolk Unit,” he said.

Syntroleum Reports

Loss On 2Q, Six Months

Several factors combined to push Syntroleum Corp.’s net loss for the second quarter and six-month period, company officials said.

The net loss ballooned to $15 million, or 27 cents per share, for the second quarter compared to a net loss of $600,000, or 1 penny per share, a year ago.

Tulsa-based Syntroleum incurred a net loss of $28 million, or 50 cents per share, for the six months that ended June 30, compared to a net loss of $12.2 million, or 24 cents per share, during the same time in 2005.

Matrix Service Reports

Record Operating Income

Tulsa-based Matrix Service Co. reported a record $248 million in backlog work and ample liquidity, contributing to a record $17.7 million in fourth-quarter operating income.

The amount compares with an operating loss of $39.1 million a year ago.

“Our focus will be to continue to add skilled craftsmen, project management and executive talent to capitalize on all the growth opportunities we currently see before us,” said Michael J. Hall, president and Matrix CEO.

Fourth quarter revenues were $138.6 million compared to $129.2 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Earnings per share were 14 cents compared to a loss of 22 cents in the same quarter a year ago. ?

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