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Natural gas processing comes to southwest Oklahoma

CHICKASHA, Okla._The landscape of business will be evolving in southern Oklahoma as a new industry moves into the area within the next two years.

After several studies, the border between Grady County and Stephens County will the future site of ONEOK’s newest natural gas processing plant. The $470 million plant will be responsible for over one-fourth of the state's natural gas production beginning in 2016 and that could make a direct impact on local residents.

It's well known that Grady and Stephens counties have been essential to Oklahoma's oil production for generations. Now this region will once again answer the Sooner State's call. This time it’s for natural gas and that could mean more money in your pocket moving into the future.

"Having this plant with this production in it is adding value to an Oklahoma product. It's going to save money for all Oklahomans."

It's a new business for southwest Oklahoma that's been in the works for six months, natural gas drilling. State Representative Scott Biggs says this area has everything developers are looking for.

"That was a previously undeveloped zone of natural gas that's been made available and has really taken off in the past couple of years," said Biggs.

It's known as SCOOP, or the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province. Full of shale rock, it's been a successful oil site for several decades and now natural gas giant ONEOK plans to process 200 million cubic feet per day at what officials will call the "Knox plant." The site is set to bring between 30 and 40 permanent jobs to the area, but employment seekers won't be the only ones to benefit.

"Oklahoma's very fortunate, if you look at our natural gas or gas prices at the pump. We have some of the lowest in the nation which is going to impact residential users and the people that drive the new CNG vehicles as well as all of our neighboring states," said Biggs.

But with new drilling comes more fracking in the area. Biggs says it's a process that's proved itself in the past.

"They've been fracking wells, especially here in Grady County, since the 1940's. This is a new type of fracking but that's been around for quite a while. This is definitely one of those value-added products that will help us," said Biggs.

The plant is still in its preliminary permitting process, so no word on when construction is set to begin. Officials hope to have the plant up and fully functioning by the end of 2016.

Officials say there's around 60 natural gas wells located in Grady and Stephens counties. They plan to add around 80 more in preparation for the Knox plant.

 

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