March 20, 2015

Oil company files suit against Kingfisher wind farm

By Paul Monies, Energy Reporter | The Oklahoman | Published March 19, 2015 |

An oil and gas company with operations in Kingfisher and Canadian counties has sued the developers of a wind farm in the area, alleging they didn’t provide adequate notice of construction.

Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. filed the lawsuit last week against Apex Clean Energy Inc., which is building the 298-megawatt Kingfisher Wind project in northern Canadian County and southern Kingfisher County.

Newfield, based in The Woodlands, Texas, operates dozens of oil and gas wells across the 315-square-mile area of the wind farm. The company said it received a map in February and tried to get more information about the project.

Newfield said it wasn’t given details until Friday, three days before Apex planned to break ground on the project.

“While the map depicts various general elements of the facility, it is impossible for oil and gas operators to discern where, specifically, each component of the facility will be located relative to roads or other infrastructure present on the surface of the lands, including any of Newfield’s wells, production facilities, flow lines, gathering lines, pipelines and other upstream and midstream facilities,” the lawsuit said.

Avoiding conflict

The lawsuit claims Apex didn’t follow a 2011 state law requiring notice to owners of mineral rights of new wind or solar projects.

Apex said it couldn’t comment on the lawsuit but said it has a strong record of working with hundreds of oil and gas companies to make sure its wind projects don’t restrict oil and gas activities.

“We believe it is important to ensure that the landowners who are participating in our projects have the opportunity to benefit from all potential energy sources on their property,” said Apex spokeswoman Dahvi Wilson. “We look forward to working with Newfield, as we have with many companies in the past, to make sure our respective facilities are not in conflict.”

A hearing on an emergency temporary restraining order is set for Friday at the Kingfisher County Courthouse.

Apex is building and managing the $450 million project, which was bought in January by private equity firm First Reserve Corp. Apex said construction has begun and the wind farm should be in operation by the end of the year.

The Kingfisher project also faces another lawsuit filed in federal court by nearby residents upset with wind development. A federal judge dismissed part of the lawsuit in January but said the plaintiffs, which include the Oklahoma Wind Action Association, could file an amended complaint.

The amended complaint, filed last month, has claims of anticipatory trespass, anticipatory nuisance and seeks a permanent injunction against the Kingfisher wind development. Apex and its affiliates deny the allegations and want the lawsuit dismissed.

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