ConocoPhillips is a step down from the mega giants but still larger than Devon and Chesapeake, both of which O’Neil and Gosling described as large to mid-sized independents.
Finley is a small independent.
Gosling said many operators are small “mom and pop” operations. Such an operator may only have five or six wells and may work only in a limited area. According to the National Stripper Well Association, small wells account for about 19 percent of total U.S. production.
Once the hydrocarbons are extracted, they are separated, treated and sold. All volatile organic compounds extracted are heavily regulated, Gosling said. Some wells are in production for several years.
Issues surrounding water are some of the most controversial in the fracking industry. Those concerns range from fears of groundwater or surface water contamination to the amount of water used in the fracking process to how the water used in the fracking process is disposed.
In Oklahoma, disposal is regulated by the Corporation Commission, but a possible link between the deep well disposal required by the state and earthquakes has put the industry under new scrutiny.
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