Past oil and gas production bans led to current limits set by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

A proration order recently approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that limits the amount of production from natural gas wells is a reminder of the state’s past.

The order, effective from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2019 and adopted by the commission at its Aug. 14 meeting, sets a maximum annual flow allowed from gas wells drilled and produced in Oklahoma.

Tim Baker, who recently retired as director of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation division, said the statute and rules authorizing such orders have been around for as long as anyone can remember.

As for proration orders related to oil production, those historically haven’t been needed, given that onshore production until recently had been falling while demands for the product consistently climb.

Baker also said the early 1980s is the last time a proration order truly limited production, back when a dramatic boost in natural gas produced by wells drilled during the state’s 1970s boom had overwhelmed needs for the fuel, though he added an order could again cap production, if needed.

“In the practical world, what we’ve learned is that natural gas produced typically by even monster wells begins to decline in a very short period of time,” he said.
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