OEPA chairman says legislators and regulators should not ignore oil and gas industry

Jerry Bohnen | Oklahoma Energy Today

The chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance suggested that it’s time the legislature and state regulators of the oil and gas industry recognize what has happened to the industry and the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And he notes when the industry asked for help, it didn’t get it.
In response to questions posed by OK Energy Today, OEPA Chairman Dewey Bartlett Jr. said the pandemic changed “our world and economy in so many ways” and as a result, “our industry has been in survival mode since then.”
He noted that a year ago, the New Year of 2020 started with $60 a barrel crude oil prices and that gasoline and other liquids were at similar or related reasonable levels. Then the pandemic hit and the oil and gas industry went to regulators asking for help.
” We approached the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to help us by officially acknowledging that crude oil prices were being improperly manipulated by foreign producers and to consider a limitation upon Oklahoma production rates. They declined to get involved. Oklahoma has now lost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenues,” said Bartlett in his statement.
He went on to state that the best thing the legislature can do now is to improve the growth possibilities of any and all aspects of the local economies.
Bartlett had advice for educators too, saying their efforts to support and promote public education should be “more inclusive in promoting career choices that include learning a trade such as welding, machine operations, electronic repair, metal fabrication, etc., equaling their promotion of a college degree.”
The OEPA leader said a college degree is not possible for those families who have lost jobs and don’t have access to benefit packages.
“Giving high school students more alternatives for a career path that better fits that student’s interest would be very helpful…,” added Bartlett.
He pointed out the Oklahoma oil and gas industry supported an increase in its gross production tax a few years ago in order to increase salaries for teachers.


Oil executives in Oklahoma say they’re making plans for what they say will be a tough era

Erin Beu | KOCO News 5

Nine days until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, and oil executives in Oklahoma are making plans for what they say will be a tough era.

Biden promised a carbon-neutral nation by 2050. KOCO 5 asked executives how they’re feeling.

“Get rid of the oil and gas companies? Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?” President Donald Trump said during one of the presidential debates.

That comment during the heated debate between Trump and Biden sparked some interest among Oklahomans.

“The oil industry pollutes scientifically,” Biden said during the debate.

Biden further explained he wanted to move away from fossil fuels and rely on green energy.

Dewey Bartlett, with the Oklahoma Energy Producer Alliance, said regardless of his political beliefs, he panicked when he heard Biden say he plans to move away from fossil fuels.

“We’ll be having problems. Everyone will be having problems,” Bartlett said. “That would not only devastate Oklahoma, that would devastate the entire country.”

According to ABC News, energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years. Biden wants to end new drilling on those same lands as part of his overhaul of how Americans get energy.

“He wanted to not allow any more drilling on federal lands, on public lands,” Bartlett said.

But that’s not happening in Oklahoma because the oil and gas companies don’t operate on too many federal lands. Instead, Bartlett said they feel like sitting ducks, waiting to find out what types of regulations Biden might put into place.

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