May 5 (UPI) -- Compared with this time last year, oil and gas sector revenue for Oklahoma expanded, though full-year input to state coffers remains depressed, the state said.
Oklahoma is one of the top contributors to total U.S. oil production, accounting for about 5 percent of the nation's total output. Lower crude oil prices curbed exploration and production activity last year and the state's economy faltered as a result.
The Oklahoma State Treasury Department reported production taxes from the oil and gas sector for March were $47.9 million, more than double what they were for March last year.
First quarter 2017 crude oil prices fared better than last year and energy companies are investing more on exploration and production as a result, particularly in U.S. shale basins. Oilfield services company Baker Hughes in its weekly rig count report, which reflects exploration and production activity, showed counts in Oklahoma are twice as high as they were at this point last year.
Elsewhere, the treasury reported the unemployment rate in the state was lower than the national average for the second month in a row and a gauge of business confidence found sentiments were above neutral for the third month in a row.
State Treasurer Keith Miller said some indicators were still in the decline, but the economy is on the mend.
"The average decline in gross receipts has slowed and the unemployment rate is shrinking as rig counts rise along with business conditions and consumer confidence," he said in a statement.
This week, Continental Resources, which has its headquarters in Oklahoma, reported mixed results for the first quarter. The company reported production in the state's SCOOP shale basin was moderately lower when compared with year-on-year figures and with the fourth quarter.
Gross tax receipts for Oklahoma declined last month compared with figures for March 2016, a downturn that followed two straight months for marginal growth. For full-year 2016, oil and gas production tax collections were $391.5 million, down 2.9 percent from the previous year.