Northeast Oklahoma companies plan to add 1,000 jobs [Tulsa World, Okla.]By Rod Walton, Tulsa World, Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Sept. 01-- Seven northeastern Oklahoma companies, most of them in the energy industry, may gain up to a total $30 million in payroll tax rebates if they follow through on creating more than 1,000 jobs over several years, the state's Quality Jobs Program announced Friday.
NGL Energy Partners LP, New Dominion LLC, Gunnebo Johnson Corp. and Nemaha Oil & Gas Operating LLC, all based in Tulsa, joined Phillips 66, Apache Corp. and Piping Enterprise Co. as the latest enrollees in the state incentive program.
Phillips 66 and Apache are based in Houston but have significant offices in Bartlesville and Tulsa, respectively, while Piping Enterprise is in Sand Springs.
Apache Corp., one of the nation's biggest independent oil and gas producers, is eligible for up to $5.5 million if it adds 75 jobs at its Tulsa offices. The Houston-based company announced plans to expand its Tulsa regional headquarters after acquiring 254,000 net acres in the liquids-rich Anadarko Basin earlier this year.
"Since January we've already hired about 119 people, most of those in Oklahoma," said Rob Johnstone, central region vice president for Apache, which has maintained a Tulsa office since 1955.
"Oklahoma has already made itself the easiest state in the United States to operate to drill wells," he said. "The Oklahoma Quality Jobs thing is another incentive on top of that."
The energy boom is lifting Oklahoma economically, but Johnston warned that the state's elementary and secondary education system desperately needs attention to help attract "quality" jobs.
"We have a hard time moving engineers and geoscientists from Texas to Oklahoma because the first thing they look at is education for their kids," he said. "That is what people are thinking about."
Phillips 66, created earlier this year when ConocoPhillips separated its refining, chemicals and midstream business, can gain $9.26 million in incentives if it adds 455 employees. The newly created spinoff already employs more than 1,500 people at its shared services and research facilities in Bartlesville.
The Phillips 66 enrollment in the program is a continuation of ConocoPhillips' original expansion and incentive plan, and was required to finish out the contract with the state, a company official said. Phillips 66 also employs 750 people at its Ponca City refinery.
NGL Energy Partners, a propane transporter and distributor formed from the merger of Hicksgas and NGL Supply two years ago, will get $2.53 million if it adds the 63 jobs planned over several years. NGL went public in May 2011 and has acquired six other companies.
Nemaha Oil & Gas, a startup exploration and production company focused on the Mississippian Lime oil formation of southern Kansas, could receive up to $3.9 million in payroll tax incentives. Nemaha plans to create 75 jobs at its corporate headquarters in Tulsa.
New Dominion LLC, a longtime Tulsa oil and gas producer focused on several central Oklahoma drilling plays, can gain $3.2 million under the Quality Jobs plan. New Dominion, which is led by chairman and veteran oilman David Chernicky, owns and operates wells in the Misener-Hunton formations.
Gunnebo Johnson makes, markets and sells industrial lifting accessories such as lifting blocks and overhaul balls domestically and internationally. The Tulsa company hopes to expand and add 57 jobs, making it eligible for up to $1.67 million in payroll tax rebates.
Piping Enterprise Co. of Sand Springs could receive $4.2 million if it fulfills its startup plans to create 180 jobs. The speciality welding firm is focused on fabrication and furnace projects.
The Quality Job Program's small employers' enrollee is DWI Engineering and Fabrication of Dewey. DWI can receive up to $190,237 if it creates and sustains 28 jobs.
Most of the new Quality Jobs enrollees would get up to 5 percent of payroll tax rebated if they meet the state's criteria. The benefit rate for DWI is 3.93 percent of taxable payroll.
Quality Jobs enrollees must meet numerous requirements, such as having significant offices in the state or 75 percent of sales to out-of-state customers. The taxable payroll must be sustained for the first 12 quarters of the eligible period and, once it meets that threshold, stay in the program for up to 10 years.
Eligible companies also must offer basic health insurance to employees, with 80 percent working at least 30 hours per week.
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
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