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Oil industry rallies at Oklahoma state Capitol

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association staged a Rally for the Rigs on Wednesday at the state Capitol to lobby for the industry.
BY JAY F. MARKS, Business Writer Published: April 10, 2014

Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry on Wednesday staged its first ever rally at the state Capitol.

About 1,000 people gathered on the south plaza for the Rally for the Rigs organized by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. Several busloads arrived from Continental Resources Inc.

“Today is your opportunity to step up and speak up,” OIPA President Mike Terry said. “We are united as one voice in this industry.”

Former OIPA Chairman Mike Cantrell, a third-generation oilman from Ada, said Oklahoma is inextricably linked to its oil and natural gas industry.

He said the industry boasts 2 million royalty owners, 31,000 companies and almost 400,000 workers in Oklahoma.

“There’s no question that Oklahomans are all intertwined with everything that we do,” Cantrell said. “We are the most significant industry in this state, in the past, present and for the future. That’s not going to change.”

Cantrell said Oklahoma has fostered its oil industry since before statehood.

“Oklahoma’s got a long history of doing what is best for the oil and gas industry because they realize that’s what’s best for Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re not here to protest anything. We’re not mad about anything. We’re just here to remind our legislative friends, as they take up policies, ... of how important our industry is.

“We want to make sure they don’t create any unintended harm with what they do.”

Cantrell said state lawmakers wisely cut gross production taxes to 1 percent on expensive horizontal wells a few years ago to spur drilling.

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Business booming

Unit Corp. executive Jim Greer said drilling activity in Oklahoma peaked in 2008 when there were 215 active rigs. The industry should surpass that figure this year, based on plans stated by public companies active in Oklahoma, he said. There currently are 193 rigs operating in Oklahoma.

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