Local lawmakers discuss impact of legislative session on oil, gas industry

Local lawmakers discuss impact of legislative session on oil, gas industry

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Oil and gas leaders met with local lawmakers Wednesday to discuss the impact the legislative session has on the oil industry. There were many victories, among them was renewing the railroad commission for another 12 years.

"Having an underfunded railroad commission makes it more difficult for all people in the industry to operate," said Ben Sheppard, President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association. "Permits are delayed, inspections are delayed. So it's important we have a fully funded commission so the public has confidence as well that the industry is being regulated."

Representative Brooks Landgraf is celebrating a different victory, the passing of his Texas Fuels Bill.

"We'll develop new natural gas markets here in the state for government fleet vehicles so I think that's going to be a win for the Texas environment but also for jobs here in the Permian Basin," said Landgraf.

Landgraf said we could see the positive impact from the bill by 2018. Senator Kel Seliger said he proposed a resolution that did not pass and plans to reintroduce it in 2019.

"It addresses severance taxes to the industry when they're levied and when they're not," said Seliger. "The oil and gas industries is very much intertwined with the economy and the legislative process in Texas. The good thing is increasing amount of people realize that."

As for oil prices, Landgraf said we're seeing an expect dip in prices and hopes prices will start to increase slowly.

"We don't freak out in the Permian Basin because people here have seen so many cycles and in very recent years have seen prices go very low and we remember $100 a barrel too," said Seliger. "It's very tough to predict, whatever comes the oil industry will weather it and come back to work."

Local lawmakers said they don't expect the oil and gas industry to be impacted by any of the topics that will be discussed during the special session but said they're ready to play defense for the industry if needed.

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