May 8, 2013

Okla. House clears natural gas fuel tax credit

OKLAHOMA CITY — Extending a $2 million tax credit for converting gas-powered vehicles to cleaner fuels, such as hydrogen and compressed natural gas, awaits Gov. Mary Fallin's approval after the Oklahoma House passed the bill Monday.

The incentive covers 50 percent of the costs of converting the vehicles — typically an $8,000 procedure — and 75 percent of the costs of setting up alternative fueling stations. The bill, approved 63-29, extends the cut until 2020.

Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, who carried the bill, said helping the state's economy ride the recent natural gas boom would be worth the credit's annual price tag of between $1.5 million and $2 million.

"We've had a 940 percent growth in natural gas consumption," she told her colleagues before the vote. "We do create new jobs, whether you want to agree or not. We have new needs for outfitters, equipment installers, technicians."

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other technologies have unlocked huge, previously inaccessible deposits of natural gas across the country, pushing national production up 20 percent and roughly doubling monthly exports since 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Oklahoma has the nation's 4th highest natural gas production, though production has tapered off since 2009.

Business is booming in Oklahoma, said Ted Massad, director of CNG Oklahoma, a Tulsa-based company that converts vehicles to run on compressed and liquefied natural gas.

"With the legislation that we have on the books right now, we are anticipating an additional 5,000 (vehicles) in calendar year 2013," Massad said, bringing the statewide total to 20,000 — a figure that could include 750 vehicles in the state fleet, according to the state finance office. "It's grown, I'd say, probably fivefold over last year."

It was the same story at Oklahoma City-based conversion company CNG of OKC, where owner Josh Chapman said companies across the country had placed orders for hundreds of CNG-enabled vehicles.

"Before we even opened up our doors, we were booked up three weeks in advance," said Chapman, whose business has been open for about a year.

Democratic Rep. Richard Morrisette and Republican Rep. Mike Reynolds — both of Oklahoma City — questioned whether Oklahoma taxpayers should be footing part of the bill for conversions.

Morrissette noted federal tax incentives already apply to natural gas fuel and infrastructure projects.

"I am personally tired of hearing the whining about we don't have any money and then members of this body give it away," Reynolds said. "Members, go ahead and vote for your tax credit. Make some other constituency wealthy to the detriment of your taxpayers."

But Massad of CNG Oklahoma said the assistance was crucial as the industry starts to mature.

"It's private industry, private businesses that are putting in the infrastructure," he said, referring to Oklahoma's roughly 100 fueling stations. "Things are finally growing to where we're not going to lose, to where we're not going to go out of business."

Text Only
  • Council approves more searches for oil, natural gas

    Searches for more oil and gas deposits in town can begin after Chickasha City Council struck a land use agreement with a third party.

    July 11, 2014

  • DSC_0916.JPG Local organization discussed oil and gas developments

    Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy spoke about the oil and gas industry in the state during a meeting of the Grady County Mineral Owners Association Thursday.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • tds052214obamamain_photo Fracking debate follows Obama

    Critics of fracking planned to greet President Obama with signs and protests during his stop in upstate New York on Thursday. Obama might see some supporters of the practice, as well.

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • SOHOT.jpg Tulsa energy company finds SCOOP to be SOHOT

    Interest in energy excavation in Grady County continues to rise, after Tulsa based UNIT Corporation released an earnings call transcript detailing the company's local work

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Recent unemployment report shows prosperous Grady County

    Help wanted signs are popping up all over Chickasha and Grady County recently. 

    May 3, 2014

  • Oil warehouse to open in Chickasha

    Oklahoma City-based oil field chemical company Energy and Environmental Services will open a warehouse in Chickasha in the next month.

    April 30, 2014

  • Coast Guard wants barges to ship fracking water

    The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

    December 19, 2013

  • Beyond fracking: University of Wyoming scientists look for ways to boost oil and gas production

    Terms like horizontal drilling and “fracking,” as hydraulic fracturing is commonly referred to, are well known now. The two technologies have sent U.S. energy production soaring in recent years, as previously inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas have been unlocked in places like North Dakota, Pennsylvania and New York.

    December 18, 2013

  • More oil and gas drillers turn to water recycling

     When the rain stopped falling in Texas, the prairie grass yellowed, the soil cracked and oil drillers were confronted with a crisis. After years of easy access to cheap, plentiful water, the land they prized for its vast petroleum wealth was starting to dry up.

    November 14, 2013

  • OERB web.tiff Industry funded nonprofit cleans abandoned sites

    The energy industry has changed somewhat dramatically over the last two decades. During the boom in the '80s, regulation was scarce and energy companies left behind machinery and concrete slabs in the wake of their excavating. 
    Since 1993 the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has been working diligently to make amends for the environmental damage done during this era, and 20 years later OERB has managed to clean up 13,000 well sites across the state including 53 in Grady County. 

    October 16, 2013 1 Photo