Oklahoma experts: Oil and gas here to stay

Kathryn McNutt | The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY – Given recent political events, it would be easy to believe Big Energy is under attack.

But Oklahoma industry experts say that the Biden administration’s plan threatening to ultimately shut down oil and gas production, instead powering the nation with renewable energy, is utter fantasy and a prescription for failure.

“Zero would be a complete disaster to America’s economy,” said Steven Agee, business dean and economic professor at Oklahoma City University and president and chief operating officer of Agee Energy.

Agee said the fringe wants all hydrocarbon production stopped, but 80% of domestic energy consumed comes from oil, gas and coal. “That can’t be replaced for decades. The transportation sector is set up to run on that,” he said.

Even if the country moved to 100% all-electric vehicles – as General Motors has pledged to do – the electricity to power the batteries must be generated somehow, Agee said.

“Those who say the U.S. must end oil and gas production are living in a fantasy world,” said Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.

The country already has become over-reliant on intermittent sources like wind and solar, Simmons said.

“You are going to need baseline energy. The most abundant, affordable and reliable is clean-burning natural gas for power generation,” he said.

Simmons said natural gas saved lives during the recent record cold spell.

“It’s a teachable moment. I hope people are paying attention,” he said. “Outside the oil and gas producing states, they don’t understand how they get electricity, how their homes are heated.”

The oil and gas industry has had a difficult time due to “misguided perceptions” for decades, said Dewey Bartlett Jr., chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance and president of Keener Oil & Gas Co. in Tulsa. “The new administration is really stepping it up. It’s not unexpected.”

As candidates, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their supporters “were very vocal about plans to dismantle the industry” with no understanding of how important it is to daily life, Bartlett said. “This type of attitude without knowledge is extremely scary.”

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Several issues covered during OEPA legislative briefing

Dawnita Fogleman | Crossville Chronicle

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance (OEPA) held it’s third energy briefing via Zoom on Wednesday, Jan. 27th with 46 in attendance. Attorney General Mike Hunter joined along with several Oklahoma State legislators, including Northwest Oklahoma District 59 Representative Mike Dobrinski.

“The vertical producers pay at 7 percent GPT (Gross Production Tax). The vertical producer actually contributes more on a GPT to the state coffers than the horizontal driller does,” OEPA Regulatory Affairs Chairman Parker Bowles pointed out. “And I think that’s something that the legislatures should think about when they’re prioritizing.”

OEPA was formed about five years ago with the purpose of more readily and directly representing the conventional vertical well operators, and royalty owners in the state of Oklahoma, according to Chairman of the Board Dewey Bartlett, President of Keener Oil & Gas Company in Tulsa. The organization represents approximately 560 members.

“We really are a true grassroots organization, our board members are made up of the people that own and operate their own companies,” Bartlett said. “Many of them have been in business for many many decades, many of us are also multi generational second, third, fourth and fifth generation owners. So we’re here for the long haul.

Hunter began by addressing issues the McGirt Decision has made on the oil and gas industry. He said the Supreme Court decision was a surprise that erased Oklahoma’s 113 years of jurisdiction and established reservation law on Creek lands.

“We’re hopeful of getting criminal jurisdiction restored through a compact, with all five tribes eventually,” Hunter said. “Right now, that is what is getting most of our attention in this office is trying to get the state back involved with ensuring that public safety is appropriately preserved and protected.”

Recently of concern to the Attorney General’s office, is the extent to which tribes can exercise jurisdiction over non Indians and non Indian business activities on reservation lands

Hunter referenced a recent letter from the Seminole Nation which implied they were exercising jurisdiction over oil and gas exploration both in regard to regulation and taxation on their tribal lands.

“I felt that our response was respectful, but it was also emphatic with regard to our position,” Hunter said. “Which is consistent with what we know as the Montana Rule, tribes can only exercise jurisdiction on reservation lands if there’s consent by the non-Indian or there’s some kind of interference with governmental operations.”

Hunter is concerned that legislative focus needs to be on compacts with the tribes regarding regulation and taxation on reservation lands.

“One of my most important responsibilities is protecting the state’s economic activities,” Hunter stressed. “There’s no more important stream of commerce in this day, then the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.”

Hunter is confident that law supports the tribes not having jurisdiction over oil and gas exploration unless it occurs on trust property or tribal lands under certain conditions.

“We have great confidence in the state’s ability to employ conservation laws that have been in effect for over a century,” Hunter said. “The Oklahoma regulatory apparatus is is frankly a model for most other states.”

Regarding President Biden’s recent executive order concerning Native American Tribes, Hunter said congressional actions are going to determine the extent to which tribes can exercise sovereignty.

“I would challenge the legal authority of the President, outside of congressional legislation to enhance or to limit tribal sovereignty,” Hunter said. “I can’t imagine that executive order would be anything other than symbolic.”

According to Dobrinski, there is Cheyenne and Arapaho land in District 59 which could possibly be affected by the McGirt Decision, but he doesn’t see it becoming near the issue that it is in Eastern Oklahoma.

OEPA President David Little, president of Kingery Energy out of Ardmore, anticipates demand to go up and supply and continue to decline as the country begins to open back up after pandemic shutdowns.

Oklahoma District 28 Senator Zack Taylor addressed concern about the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s (OCC) lack of efficiency.

“I want to talk about the biggest industry that they regulate and that’s oil and gas,” Taylor said. “Two years ago, the legislature gave an increased appropriation to the OCC specifically for oil and gas. And about that same time, they also raised the fees on oil and gas.”

According to Taylor, the industry overall was supportive of getting more funding directly to the oil and gas division of the OCC, but issues arose even before the pandemic.

“There was a significant purge to the surface out in Kingfisher county of salt water,” Taylor said. “I really believe that that blame goes back to the Corporation Commission. They approved entirely too many high volume disposal wells in close proximity to one another.”

As the pandemic began, it has exacerbated the problem, according to Taylor.

“We just don’t need our regulating authority to be another obstacle in business. The oil and gas business has had a hard enough time already,” Taylor said. “We need them to adapt and provide the level of service needed for the industry. We should really demand out of all government agencies, but it’s been a real struggle with the OCC.”

Especially since the pandemic and so many working from home, Taylor feels like there’s a lot to be desired in the service received.

“I think that as elected leaders, we need to continue to ask the hard questions,” Taylor said. “If we have constituents call us and have problems with the OCC we need to communicate with the OCC and demand answers.”

Attorney Justin Hiersche said one of the biggest complaints from landowners is the obstacle to getting information from the OCC when they want it, The statewide issue of weld damaged by frack kits by horizontal wells to vertical wells and the surface is of particular concern, especially on the Kingfisher County line.

“The issue going on out there has certainly got landowners and everybody in the area quite concerned,” Dobrinski said. “The purge issues that we have experienced the last couple of years in the Blaine Kingfisher county areas. It’s something that the, you know, regulators thing the Corporation Commission did obviously take interest in, in the beginning.”

According to Dobrinski, great progress has been made but there is still leakage in the area which is a concern that needs to be solved.

Former Latigo Vice-president of Land and Legal Michael Booze discussed Senate Bill 632 which introduces a language change to the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Owners’ Lien Act of 2010.

“The present legislation that we’re proposing would modify the Oil and Gas Owners’ Lien Act to provide some protections in bankruptcy for individuals and companies who have been pooled by forced pooling order through the Oklahoma Corporation Commission when those companies filed bankruptcy,” Booze said. “The proposed legislation would essentially add pooling bonuses and any lease bonuses… to be paid for the acquisition of exploration rights, essentially working interest, to the lien under statute.”

According to Booze, this would put a first lease even above mortgages on oil and gas proceeds. He said he hasn’t seen any problems with independent companies, but a lot of problems with some of the larger private equity companies that tend to come and go in the State.

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McGirt decision impact on state oil and gas industry examined during OEPA briefing with state legislators

Rhett Morgan | Tulsa World

The McGirt decision’s impact on the oil and gas industry was a major topic Wednesday at a briefing held for state legislators by the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance.

OEPA President Dewey Bartlett Jr. presided over the roughly 100-minute online event, during which Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter spoke at length about the state’s economic future.

“One of my most important responsibilities is protecting the state’s economic activities,” Hunter said. “There’s no more important stream of commerce in this state than the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.”

The OEPA, which has about 560 members in 100 communities, promotes and protects the rights of vertical oil and gas producers in Oklahoma.

Regarding McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court in July ruled that major crimes committed by or upon American Indians within the 1860s-era boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation should be tried in federal rather than state court because Congress never disestablished the reservation.

The high court’s confirmation of the Creek reservation and those of the other Five Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole) clouds how the energy industry could be regulated within those boundaries.

Hunter said he would take an aggressive stance against any attempt to interfere with that sector not consistent with state or federal law, adding that the state needs to pursue compacts with the tribes regarding regulation and taxation on reservation lands.

“We can’t function in a way that is consistent with the responsibilities that we all have as citizens to each other — Indians and non-Indians alike — if we’re not participating as citizens of the state collaboratively and cooperatively when it comes to regulation and taxation,” the attorney general said.

Prior to McGirt, the largest reservation in the country was the Navajo in New Mexico and Arizona, Hunter said.
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“Ninety percent of the inhabitants of the Navajo Reservation are Indians,” he said. “So, reservation law and the autonomy that it provides and independence it provides on reservation land makes sense when you have that kind of homogenous population.

“The Oklahoma lands, which are about to become reservations, 90 percent of those who reside on these lands are non-Indians. So, attempting to exercise reservation law in a way that’s practical is just a problem … I’m just hopeful that all five of the tribes are going to be able to sit down with us, the governor and the Legislature and start looking at not only criminal justice compacts but compacts to ensure the state and the tribes can work together on the regulation and taxation front with regard to their citizens and their interests.”

Also speaking at the briefing was OEPA President David Little, who, while acknowledging the industry’s difficult 2020, was optimistic about oil prices. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate was trading at about $52 on Wednesday.

“… Once the vaccinations reach 150 million people, probably when get into the spring and warmer temperatures … I anticipate demand to go up and supply to continue to decline,” he said. “Oil could reach a level well into the $60 range.”

Mike Cantrell, of Ada-based Cantrell Investments, addressed methane rules and how they will be handled under President Joe Biden’s administration. Methane often leaks from oil and gas wells and pipelines, exerting a warming effect on the atmosphere.

Under then-President Barack Obama, oil and gas facilities were mandated to inspect equipment built or modified after 2015 twice a year for methane leaks and fix leaks that they found. Former President Donald Trump softened those rules. Biden could restore Obama-era methane regulations and extend those to older wells, threatening the bottom line for some independent operators.

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House committee assignments made 2021

Office of House Speaker Charles McCall

Note: Corrections were made to assignments to the Business and Commerce, Common Education, County and Municipal Government, Energy, General Government, and Transportation committees; the Insurance Committee was added to the committee schedule.

OKLAHOMA CITY – House of Representatives committee assignments and schedules for the 58th Oklahoma Legislature were made Friday.

The House will operate with 30 standing committees and 10 appropriations and budget subcommittees for the two-year session beginning Feb. 1. Committee schedules are available here.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, made the following committee assignments:

Administrative Rules

  • Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, Chair
  • Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin
  • Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
  • Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville
  • Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman

Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee, Chair
  • Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee
  • Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene
  • Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton
  • Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
  • Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane
  • Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber
  • Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando
  • Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh
  • Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener
  • Rep. Jose Cruz, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Tulsa

Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances

  • Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow, Chair
  • Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
  • Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
  • Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
  • Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa

Appropriations and Budget

  • Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, Chair
  • Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
  • Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang
  • Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
  • Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
  • Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore
  • Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan
  • Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie
  • Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando
  • Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh
  • Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan
  • Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
  • Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
  • Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell
  • Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
  • Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa
  • Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman
  • Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City

Banking, Financial Services and Pensions

  • Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore, Chair
  • Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee
  • Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City

Business and Commerce

  • Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, Chair
  • Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami
  • Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
  • Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
  • Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore
  • Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan
  • Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
  • Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa

Children, Youth and Family Services

  • Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, Chair
  • Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
  • Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
  • Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula
  • Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City

Common Education

  • Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, Chair
  • Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
  • Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid
  • Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
  • Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada
  • Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber
  • Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
  • Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell
  • Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman
  • Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa

County and Municipal Government

  • Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, Chair
  • Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
  • Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
  • Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
  • Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
  • Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa

Criminal Justice and Corrections

  • Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, Chair
  • Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
  • Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City

Elections and Ethics

  • Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Sallisaw, Chair
  • Rep. Max Wolfley, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton
  • Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton
  • Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula
  • Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar
  • Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman
  • Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City

Energy and Natural Resources

  • Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, Chair
  • Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant
  • Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
  • Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City
  • Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore
  • Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
  • Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
  • Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman
  • Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa

General Government

  • Rep. Kevin West, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
  • Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
  • Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole
  • Rep. Max Wolfley, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Denise Brewer, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City

Government Modernization and Efficiency

  • Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, Chair
  • Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
  • Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
  • Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City

Health Services and Long-Term Care

  • Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, Chair
  • Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
  • Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
  • Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater

Higher Education and Career Tech

  • Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, Chair
  • Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin
  • Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber
  • Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City
  • Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds
  • Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater
  • Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
  • Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Norman
  • Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman

Insurance

  • Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson, Chair
  • Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang
  • Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan
  • Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie
  • Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell
  • Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston
  • Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City

Judiciary – Criminal

  • Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton , Chair
  • Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh
  • Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
  • Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan
  • Rep. Jose Cruz, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City

Judiciary – Civil

  • Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
  • Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami
  • Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton
  • Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
  • Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
  • Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
  • Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond
  • Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman
  • Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City

Public Health

  • Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, Chair
  • Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
  • Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
  • Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan
  • Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
  • Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
  • Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville
  • Rep. Denise Brewer, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City

Public Safety

  • Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
  • Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
  • Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
  • Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane
  • Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole
  • Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa

Rules

  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond, Chair
  • Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orland
  • Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds
  • Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City
  • Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman

States’ Rights

  • Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, Chair
  • Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee
  • Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
  • Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
  • Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa

Technology

  • Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds, Chair
  • Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
  • Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton
  • Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar
  • Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City

Tourism

  • Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, Chair
  • Rep. Jim Grego, R-McAlester, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami
  • Rep. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant
  • Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula
  • Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
  • Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City

Transportation

  • Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, Chair
  • Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
  • Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah
  • Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene
  • Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
  • Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
  • Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
  • Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City

Utilities

  • Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie, Chair
  • Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee
  • Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada
  • Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
  • Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
  • Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa

Veterans and Military Affairs

  • Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, Chair
  • Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City
  • Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
  • Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City

Wildlife

  • Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee, Chair
  • Rep. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
  • Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
  • Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater
  • Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener
  • Rep. Max Wolfley, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman
  • Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa

 Appropriations Subcommittees

Education

  • Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, Chair
  • Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid
  • Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada
  • Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
  • Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole
  • Rep. Max Wolfley, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater

Finance – Revenue and Taxation

  • Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, Chair
  • Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
  • Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
  • Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
  • Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang
  • Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie
  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman
  • Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City

General Government

  • Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan, Chair
  • Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
  • Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
  • Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
  • Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Kevin West, R-Heavener
  • Rep. Denise Brewer, D-Tulsa
  • Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City

Health

  • Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, Chair
  • Rep. Tammy West, R-Bethany, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
  • Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
  • Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa

Human Services

  • Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa, Chair
  • Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
  • Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
  • Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
  • Rep. Denise Brewer, D-Tulsa

Judiciary

  • Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, Chair
  • Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene
  • Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton
  • Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
  • Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Jose Cruz, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City

Natural Resources and Regulatory Services

  • Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee, Chair
  • Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee
  • Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton
  • Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton
  • Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
  • Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
  • Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman
  • Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman

Public Safety

  • Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, Chair
  • Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant, Vice Chair
  • Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
  • Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane
  • Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
  • Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
  • Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener
  • Rep. Jose Cruz, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City

Select Agencies

  • Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, Chair
  • Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds
  • Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar
  • Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville
  • Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater
  • Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa

Transportation

  • Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, Chair
  • Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, Vice Chair
  • Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah
  • Rep. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant
  • Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee
  • Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin
  • Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma

Biden’s administration could affect Oklahoma’s energy industry in surprising ways

Jack Money | USA Today

Presidential administrations and Congresses throughout the past 40 years undoubtedly worked to nudge the nation’s energy and climate-related policies one way or another.

Debates about ways to support the energy industry both in Oklahoma and across the nation have been part of every presidential and congressional election since the 1980s, and subsequent governmental actions have prompted applause or angst as they have helped or hurt energy production along the way.

That’s no surprise. While the number of Oklahomans employed by oil and gas companies in the state is relatively small, the industry’s impact on the overall health of the state’s economy and the services provided by state and local governments is huge.

A report issued by the Oklahoma State Chamber in September 2016, for example, showed:

Energy industry slowdowns, it observed, typically lead to losses of gross production, property, sales and income tax revenues and an associated loss of discretionary spending.

Read more.

DEBATABLE – Market, not policy, is key to OK’s energy future

Jack Money | The Oklahoman

Debates about ways to support the energy industry both in Oklahoma and across the nation have been part of every presidential and congressional election since the 1980s, and subsequent governmental actions have prompted applause or angst as they have helped or hurt energy production along the way.

That’s no surprise. While the number of Oklahomans employed by oil and gas companies in the state is relatively small, the industry’s impact on the overall health of the state’s economy and the services provided by state and local governments is huge.

A report issued by the Oklahoma State Chamber in September 2016, for example, showed:

  • In 2015, the oil and gas industry employed 53,500 Oklahomans who earned $5.6 billion.
  • Another 95,000 Oklahomans earned $10 billion in self-employment income from oil and gas activity.
  • In total, their earnings represented 13.2% of total state earnings during the year.

Energy industry slowdowns, it observed, typically lead to losses of gross production, property, sales and income tax revenues and an associated loss of discretionary spending.

In short, keeping the industry healthy has been paramount to both industry leaders and state government officials.

As the next administration under President Joe Biden prepares to take office this month, questions again are being asked about how federal energy policies might change and how that might impact Oklahoma’s energy industry.

While the questions are nothing new, answers from at least two Oklahomans might surprise you.

Mike Cantrell, chairman of Postwood Energy LLC and co-chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, has been an activist in Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry since leading a membership committee for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA) in the early 1980s.

Over the years, he represented the industry and its viewpoints on environmental, trade and tax policies that all influenced the success of oil and gas operators in the state.

These days, Cantrell said he has re-assessed many positions he has taken over that time. The industry, for example, lobbied hard to keep foreign oil overseas, despite its role (through an agreement made by President Ronald Reagan with Saudi Arabia) to flood markets with cheap oil to bring the USSR to its economic knees.

He also lobbied hard on behalf of the industry to eliminate the windfall profit tax on oil and gas producers, something they were able to accomplish for owners of stripper wells in 1981 and for producers generally several years later.

“I have done my fair share of that, looking back, and asking whether or not the positions I took were right,” Cantrell said. “The question is: Should we have let the marketplace decide?”

His thoughts are similar to those of Jim Roth, an attorney who is the dean of Oklahoma City University’s School of Law and a past Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.

Roth said past Congresses and administrations indeed have been able to influence rises and falls in domestic energy production through regulatory and tax-related policies.

“But there are market forces that are evolving, regardless who is in control,” Roth said.

A 40-year itch

Until a decade ago, the most common called-for remedy to support Oklahoma’s energy industry was the need to enact a tax on imported crude oil.

Tulsa consultant Wayne Swearingen argued for a $5 per barrel tax when he addressed the OIPA in 1982, arguing that could help the nation pay down its deficit. He also called for Congress to eliminate windfall taxes on profits obtained through the production of carbon-based energy products.

“That’s the least awful of all ways to tax the industry,” Swearingen said.

Calls for import taxes only grew louder as President Reagan entered his second term, with spot pricing for West Texas Intermediate crude at the Cushing terminal averaging $15.05 in 1986.

The International Association of Drilling Contractors called for the president to save the oil and gas drilling and exploration industry from “imminent collapse” by using his executive authority to impose import fees on both oil and gasoline.

“The collapse of oil prices in combination with punitive actions of the Congress and the federal government in the form of windfall profit taxes, natural gas price controls and the like, threatens to destroy the U.S. independent oil and gas industry and critical drilling and exploration efforts with it and threatens the security of the nation,” said association President Ned E. Simes. “President Reagan used this authority recently to limit the import of cedar wood shingles from Canada. Certainly, the survival of America’s energy industry is at least as strategic as that of the wood shingle industry.”

As the 1988 presidential election between candidates Vice President George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis approached, Oklahoma’s energy producers were hopeful Bush would support the industry. But by the time he sought a second term in 1992, markets remained in control.
The average price at Cushing for crude was $20.58 a barrel that year as the nation imported more than 2.2 billion barrels.

“There remains no commitment, or even recognition, from this administration to address the urgent problems and inequities within the domestic oil and gas industry,” said F.W. “Pete” Brown, the OIPA’s president at the time. “President Bush has been criticized for not having an energy strategy. I believe he has an energy policy — cheap oil today, regardless of the cost tomorrow.”

Under President Bill Clinton’s two terms, crude prices generally climbed. But imports climbed as well, growing to more than 3.3 billion barrels in 2000.

And as President George W. Bush served the first year of his second term in 2005, crude’s price averaged $56.64 a barrel as imports reached a record level of nearly 3.7 billion barrels.

When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the shale revolution was growing. As domestic production climbed, oil imports declined, with only about 2.5 billion barrels imported in 2019.

Read More.

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.

Read more.

OK Attorney General Mike Hunter Letter to the Seminole Nation

As an update to the recent letters sent from the Seminole Nation regarding fees, Attorney General Mike Hunter sent a strong letter to the Seminole Nation that you can read HERE.

General Counsel, Lee Levinson Opinion on the Seminole Nation Letter

As an update to the recent letters sent from the Seminole Nation regarding fees, you can read an updated opinion from our General Counsel, Lee Levinson – click HERE to read it.