Gov. Phil Bryant earlier this month delivered a keynote address to oil company executives and others gathered in Houston for the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Summit.
Upon his return, the governor’s office agreed to answer a series of questions on the subject of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.
Here is the Q&A:
Q — Does the governor have plans in the remainder of his administration for additional actions to spur development of the TMS?
A — The governor has developed an aggressive energy agenda and continues to support development in the TMS. As activity there transitions into its next phase, we will continue working with companies to determine if additional actions to spur development are appropriate.
Secondary suppliers are also important to TMS, and MDA (Mississippi Development Authority) is working with these companies and local economic developers to identify opportunities. Counties in Southwest Mississippi that aren’t directly involved in TMS extraction can benefit from secondary supplier activity.
Q — The severance tax reduction has helped create new interest in opening and expanding operations in the TMS. Can the state take additional steps to hasten development of the TMS?
A — One of Mississippi’s major strengths is permitting speed (we are #2 in the nation per Area Development magazine), and The Oil and Gas Board and MDEQ are continuously looking at ways to speed up the permitting process.
Q — The condition of roads in Southwest Mississippi is a huge concern for both the oil companies operating there and residents and local government officials alike. Is Gov. Bryant contemplating ways to assist with upgrading and maintaining the road transportation system in the TMS?
A — Transportation infrastructure is obviously very important to TMS and to all economic development endeavors. The companies operating in the TMS are in contact with the counties that manage these roads to reach agreements on conditions and maintenance as necessary. MDA also maintains communication with the companies and the counties. As development increases, counties will see additional resources through the state’s severance tax formula.
Q — Any other comments and perspectives?
A — Gov. Bryant continues to advocate energy development throughout Mississippi and is very encouraged by the increase in activity in the TMS. Our state’s positive business climate, including the changes to the severance tax formula, is spurring development and increased economic activity. As chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the governor will continue seeking new ways states can innovate and lead their own energy policy development.