(The Center Square) – As the oil and gas industry rebounds from last year’s COVID-triggered recession, Oklahoma’s economy continues to improve.
In the past 12 months, a record $ 14.7 billion in revenue has been collected by the Oklahoma state government, indicating economic growth, according to the state treasurer’s office. All of the state’s major sources of revenue, with the exception of motor vehicle collections, continue to grow.
“Natural gas continues to play a vital role in Oklahoma’s future through jobs, tax revenues and a reliable and affordable fuel source for industry, businesses and homes,” said Tom Rider, executive director of the Oklahoma Gas Association, in The Center Square.
Members of the Oklahoma Gas Association are not on the production side, which has the biggest impact on state revenues.
Since oil hit $ 68 a barrel in August and has continued to rise, incomes, platforms and jobs have also increased, signaling stable economic growth for the foreseeable future.
Rider said natural gas will continue to be a viable economic engine for years to come.
“Even now, however, the industry is looking for alternative fuels, particularly hydrogen and residual methane, which can be developed and used,” Rider said. “Natural gas is an integral part of the ‘green’ conversation. One of the issues all states should address is changing the way natural gas is managed nationally,” said Rider. “If energy is a national priority, its primary source of fuel (for power generation as well as a source of heat) should not be a commodity.”
As the current rise in oil and gas prices appears to be benefiting the economy, the question arises as to whether the state should depend so much on an industry for its economic well-being.
“From a personal perspective, no state economy should be governed by one or two economic engines,” Rider said. “Oklahoma must continue to diversify its energy production (wind, solar, hydrogen) and look for other ways to develop businesses and an industry that can withstand the ups and downs.”