The final day of the Pipeline and Energy Expo at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, presented alongside the NGVOK expo, featured a keynote speaker well-tailored for the audience of oil & gas and power professionals.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is an ardent and longtime supporter of the state’s oil and gas industry. Often butting heads against players in the Federal Government to push industry interests, she has proven herself loyal to an industry deeply embedded in her state and crucial to its continued success.
During her 25-minute speech, the Governor discussed the state’s CNG initiative, industry safety, the current pricing fluctuation, the controversial topic of disposal well-related earthquakes, and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Discussing Oklahoma’s CNG pursuits, Fallin highlighted the number of CNG vehicles in use by the state, and its robust network of fueling stations.
“We’re seeing fun things happen. Like with our CNG initatives in our state, which we launched a couple years ago. The state of Oklahoma now has over 800 CNG vehicles.”
She was quick to compare how CNG successes here aren’t seen everywhere.
“We now have 100 CNG fill stations around the state of Oklahoma. I’ve talked to other Governor’s and they don’t have that in their states.”
The Governor turned her focus to industry safety, including a peculiar approach to dealing with accidents.
“This conference is also talking about safety, specifically pipeline safety. It’s critically important. I always tell people the best form of worker’s compensation reform is to not have an injury in the first place. It’s important to do everything we can to make sure our workplaces are safe.”
She used the topic to dig at the other prominent form of oil and gas transportation without acknowledging it directly.
“Pipeline are not only the fastest way to transport oil and gas,” Fallin said, “they’re also the safest.”
Her address turned to the falling price of oil on the global market. Although she acknowledged a cyclical element to the price drop, she also said it proved the need for a comprehensive plan from higher levels of government.
“I talk to my energy sector folks, and they say we do this every 4 or 5 years,” she said. “That’s why it’s now more important than ever, I believe, to have a national energy policy.”
She would later bring up Washington again when discussing the Keystone XL Pipeline, saying she directly asked President Obama to approve the pipeline, only to have the President respond with “No.” She urged out-of-state attendees to help her fight that fight by contacting representatives in their home states.
Governor Fallin even addressed the controversial topic of earthquakes, which have shook Oklahoma in record numbers over recent years.
“It’s a topic that’s been very concerning to homeowners, and certainly for our businesses, but we want to get out policy right, too, when it comes to disposal wells in our state. The depth, the volume, the placement, and how that all effects earthquakes from disposal wells here in Oklahoma.”
Highlighting “national security” and “economic security” numerous times throughout the address, Fallin expressed pride in the oil and gas industry representatives in Oklahoma, saying how they’re responsible for the state’s successes, and assured them she’d be fighting for them in the days ahead.