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Oil industry adds $61 billion to Oklahoma economy, report shows

Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry provided an economic impact of more than $61 billion last year, according to a report commissioned by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: May 10, 2012

The oil and natural gas industry pumped $61 billion into the Oklahoma economy last year, according to a report commissioned by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

“This study is an effort to understand better the impact on jobs and taxes,” OERB Chairman David House said. “Everything that we do has touched so many lives in this state.”

Economist Russell Evans, executive director of Oklahoma City University's Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute, said the oil and gas industry helped Oklahoma weather the recession better than most other states.

“Oklahoma continues to be defined by its oil and gas industry,” he said.

Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Chairman Bob Sullivan said producers understand the importance of their contribution to the state's economy.

“We know that we are being counted on to produce for Oklahoma,” he said.

Impact on state

The oil and gas industry's input to Oklahoma's economy in 2011 totaled more than $61 billion, or about $1 of every $3 in the gross state product, Evans said. That figure comes from adding the industry's direct and indirect output to the spending of its 344,000 workers in Oklahoma.

“The 2011 impacts are awfully close to being where they were in 2007, pre-recession,” he said.

The 2007 OERB study pegged the industry's impact at $68 billion, but dipped to $51 billion in 2009 because of the recession.

Evans said those figures are driven by drilling activity and employment.

“A lot of the impacts that we enjoy in Oklahoma from the oil and gas industry really revolve around regular, predictable drilling activity,” he said. “We're not quite back to our '07 impact levels, but awful close.”

Evans said the industry has added nearly 12,000 jobs over the past two years, despite significant price challenges with oil and natural gas.

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