The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, a statewide organization that represents small oil and gas producers, is starting to be heard at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Statehouse, said OEPA President Mike Cantrell.
“I think we’re in a position now where we’re beginning to make an impact,” he said.
Cantrell and OEPA Chairman Dewey Bartlett Jr. provided a short history of the organization and its mission during a lunch meeting Tuesday at Oak Hills Golf and Country Club. Their remarks included updates on bills affecting oil and gas producers who have conventional vertical wells.
Serving small producers
Bartlett said he and Cantrell used to be active in the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, a trade organization for the oil and gas industry. But several members of the OIPA, including Bartlett and Cantrell, came to believe that the OIPA favored horizontal well operators over producers with conventional vertical wells.
Those members later broke away from the OIPA and formed a new group, the OEPA, which focuses on advocating for conventional well operators at the Legislature and the Corporation Commission. The new group began with 20 members, but it currently has more than 500 members scattered across the state.
“We feel like, and it’s very true, that we’re the grassroots organization that really represents the entirety of the conventional well operators and the independent operators in Oklahoma,” Bartlett said.
He said the OEPA has succeeded in temporarily blocking House Bill 3609, which would require operators of existing wells to take certain steps when they are notified that a hydraulic fracturing operation is setting up shop in the area. Those steps, designed to protect the wells, would include shutting in those wells and providing enough on-site tank storage to handle an increase in water production.