Oil market recovery means economic recovery for Oklahoma

Gross production taxes in the shale-rich state were 60 percent higher than this time last year.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Oct. 5, 2017 at 6:32 AM
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Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Recovery in the market for crude oil has led to sustained economic recovery for the shale-rich state of Oklahoma, the state treasurer said.

"Economic momentum in the state is going up," State Treasurer Ken Miller said in a statement. "In September, gross receipts show increased income and consumption, attributable at least in part to increased oil field activity during the past several months."

The price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, has been relatively bound in the upper $40 to lower $50 per barrel range for the better part of a year. The price slipped, however, to below $30 per barrel in early 2016 and put strains on the economies of shale-rich states like Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is home to about 4 percent of the total petroleum reserves in the country and accounts for as much as 5 percent of the total crude oil production. Miller's office reported gross production tax revenue for September was about 60 percent higher than the same time last year. Over the past 12 months, gross production taxes are 41.8 percent higher than the previous period.

WTI on this date last year was $49.75 per barrel. The price early Thursday was around $50.10 per barrel. Market stability has led to a sustained level of confidence for oil and gas companies working in U.S. shale basins. Drilling services company Baker Hughes counted 124 rigs working in Oklahoma last week, an increase from the 68 counted in the same period in 2016.

Rig counts provide a loose metric for exploration and production levels. The four-week average for total U.S. oil production was, at 9.5 million barrels per day, higher than last year by 11 percent. Federal data, meanwhile, show the four-week average of total oil exports at 1.3 million barrels per day, more than twice the level from last year.

Across all sectors in Oklahoma, gross receipts for September are higher than last year by 7.7 percent. Over the last 12 months, only corporate income tax receipts declined.

Miller's office added that new tax legislation was supporting some of the growth. Changing a tax rate for shale drillers from 1 percent to 4 percent supported overall receipts in September with $6.9 million.

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