Long lateral bill goes to Gov. Fallin after narrow house vote

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that expands horizontal drilling in the state will go to the governor’s desk for signing after last-minute vote flipping tipped in the bill’s favor.

After more than 30 minutes of voting on SB 867, which will allow drilling of lateral oil and gas wells into all geologic formations over larger areas, it passed in the house 51-46.

The vote had stalled 48-49, but eventually three house Republicans, Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Granfield; Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore and Rep. Scooter Park, R-Devol, switched from against to in favor.

The bill’s proponents argued that the bill would have a positive impact on the oil and gas industry, leading to job creation and increased revenue.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates oil and gas production increases from the use of long lateral lines will bring in $18.9 million through gross production taxes, with $9.4 million going to the state, the rest being split between counties and schools.

However, opponents of the bill argued that increasing well spacing units for horizontal wells would negatively impact existing vertical wells.

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