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.