Tulsa Considering Allowing Oil Drilling On Public Land
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Could the City of Tulsa solve some of its budget problem by drilling for dollars?
Some industry experts think the oil and gas underneath Tulsa could help pump up the city budget.
It is under serious consideration to allow private companies to drill on both public and private land, inside the city limits.
The city would get a cut, of course, and that is why city hall is looking into it.
While gushers were coming in at Glenpool and Sapulpa, Tulsa's founders did not want to live in an oil field - so drilling in the city limits was off limits.
Geologist Don Burdick believes it's time for that to change.
"If you look at a map, it looks like there are areas in the city limits that have never been drilled and that there's potential here," Burdick said.
Burdick serves as an unpaid consultant to the city on the issue.
"Oklahoma City has done this very effectively on public and private lands and we're looking to adopt their regulations or something similar," Burdick said.
Oklahoma City gets few complaints about oil production in the city and makes money through inspection fees and royalties from wells on public land.
In Tulsa, public land like Mohawk Park could be explored and while the city council would have to approve they are the ones who started the conversation, and it was before oilman Dewey Bartlett was elected mayor.
"If there is opportunity to allow the oil and gas industry to give the city proposals on how they might approach the idea of drilling on city land and into city mineral rights, we should consider it very seriously," Bartlett.
The city owns land and the mineral rights at Turkey Mountain, Tulsa International Airport and Mohawk Park, so the city might encourage exploration there while also allowing it on private land.
"There will be a revenue that comes directly to the city but there's also revenue that comes directly to the landowners and minerals owners that live in Tulsa and that's money that turns over in the economy," Burdick said.
So the multi-million dollar question is whether or not there's oil, if there's someone willing to drill for it, and how much money that could bring into the city.
The issue will go before the new city council in mid-January.