$2 million fine against oil and gas firm over New Mexico operations


A more than $2 million fine has been leveled by the state of New Mexico against an oil and gas company for not cleaning up two produced water releases at well sites south of Carlsbad.

The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Oil Conservation Division announced the notice of violation and proposed administrative civil penalties of $2,007,900 against Murchison Oil and Gas, LLC. It said the fine was directly related to the release of produced water at two separate wells sites about 16 miles south of Carlsbad.

Murchison Oil and Gas, headquartered in Plano, Texas and founded in 1979, has core operations in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and Texas and the San Juan Basin in Colorado.

“Environmental justice means holding polluters like Murchison accountable for their actions,” said EMNRD Deputy Secretary Dylan Fuge. “Murchison’s pattern of noncompliance is unacceptable. We’re sending a message loud and clear: obey the rules or face the consequences.”

Under OCD’s rules operators are required to file release reports, submit remediation plans that meet OCD’s clean-up requirements, and take proper actions to remediate those releases in accordance with the rules. At the two identified sites, Murchison allegedly failed to take appropriate reporting and compliance actions to address the releases, and, stated the state “in fact, took actions that risk exacerbating the possible contamination.”

The OCD considers each of the listed violations to be serious, as is Murchison’s failure to comply with the OCDs rules concerning releases and associated cleanup. It is imperative that releases be addressed promptly and in accordance with the regulations.