Senate approves jobs bill

An Oklahoma Senate committee gave approval to a jobs bill from Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz that is anticipated to spur an increase in oil and gas drilling in the state of Oklahoma, creating new energy jobs and boosting state and local revenues.

“The best way to generate more revenue from oil and gas production is to get more rigs drilling in Oklahoma. The Energy Jobs Act will unlock billions in oil and gas investment in Oklahoma, creating jobs and generating new revenue for the state,” said Schulz, R-Altus.

Senate Bill 867, also known as the Oklahoma Energy Jobs Act of 2017, allows multiunit, or long-lateral, drilling in all rock formations, not just shale. Currently, Oklahoma is the only state that restricts long-lateral drilling based on the type of rock formation. The bill also provides safeguards for property owners, mineral owners, and all operators.

By industry estimates, in its first year SB 867 will generate approximately $490 million in new royalty payments, more than $229 million in new state and local revenues (combined gross production tax, sales tax, and income tax generated from increased drilling activity), and create nearly 6,000 new jobs in the oil and gas sector. Additionally, the measure is expected to unlock nearly $6 billion in investment from major oil and gas companies.

“This bill levels the playing field with other states, costs the state nothing, and makes Oklahoma a more attractive place for investment. This is an issue we’ve worked on for years in the Senate, and I’m glad we finally have an agreement among stakeholders. This is one of the most important and impactful economic development ideas to be considered by the Legislature in years,” Schulz said.

Sen. Bryce Marlatt, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, hailed the passage of SB 867 as a win for the state, industry, and land owners.

“We’ll see more rigs drilling in Oklahoma if this bill becomes law. That in turn means more jobs and more revenue for the state of Oklahoma. Bottom line: SB 867 is a win for the industry, a win for mineral owners, and it’s a win for the state of Oklahoma,” Marlatt, R-Woodward said.