Oklahoma Dodged Bullet on Natural Gas Revenue, Treasurer Says

  • Joe Wertz

Historically low natural gas prices have dragged down revenues from gross production taxes, alarming state budget officials. But prices weren’t low enough long enough to trigger a 3 percent reduction in the tax rate.

Oklahoma-produced gas sold for an average of $2.92 per thousand cubic feet in March and April. State Treasurer Ken Miller says Oklahoma squeaked by:

If reports had shown the average price paid for Oklahoma-produced natural gas was below $2.10 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in March or April, the lower rate would have been triggered for collections remitted in July and August, he said in a statement with his monthly report on the state’s gross receipts.

Overall, concerns about Oklahoma’s energy sector “have lessened,” Miller says.Low natural gas prices have forced many Oklahoma energy companies to turn to crude oil production.

Baker Hughes reports show 37 active natural gas rigs in Oklahoma this week, compared to 124 a year ago. Active oil rigs are reported as 156 for oil this week, compared to 53 at this time last year, Miller reports.

Taxes from oil and gas declined by 1.6 percent, but other revenues for July increased from the same month last year, according to the Treasurer’s Office:

  • Personal and corporate income taxes, combined: up 10 percent
  • Sales taxes: up 7.1 percent
  • Motor vehicle taxes: up 5.5 percent
  • Fuel, tobacco, alcoholic beverage and gambling taxes, combined: up 3.9 percent