When Gov. Mary Fallin appointed former Corps of Engineers Tulsa District Commander Michael Teague as the first secretary of the combined departments of energy and environment in August, some environmentalists scoffed.
The Sierra Club said combining the offices was a “disservice” to the state.
Oklahoma’s oil industry wasn’t thrilled with Teague himself, who the president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association said had “no working knowledge in the oil and natural gas sector.”
But three months into the job, Teague told the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association the merged focus is going great, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:
“It’s been a huge advantage,” Teague said Friday. “Just the idea you have one office to sort through and take on these issues and one office that’s the point of contact with our federal agency counterparts, that’s a huge advantage.”
… Teague said he has spent much of the past three months touring the state, visiting drilling operations in western Oklahoma, storage tanks and pipelines in Cushing, the Phillips 66 refinery in Ponca City.
The meeting was a chance for oil and gas interests to get together and look ahead at some of the changes facing the industry in the coming year, which could be significant:
The legislature is expected to address whether the industry can drill horizontal wells up to two miles long throughout the state and whether the state’s gross production tax should be changed.
Oklahoma’s gross production tax is 7 percent, but because of a tax incentive, production during the first four years of an operation is taxed at 1 percent. That incentive is set to expire in 2015.