Christmas tree growers surviving drought
OWASSO - Bill Jacobs has managed to grow 1,280 healthy trees at his Owasso Christmas Tree & Berry Farm this year, though drought conditions did threaten to take the spirit out of the holiday season.
Jacobs said he spent all summer irrigating his crop of Virginia pines, costing him plenty to ensure his trees didn't shrivel under another year of record hot summer temperatures and historically dry conditions.
"Before last year we never really had to do much watering at all," he said.
Evergreen trees native to more northern climates need plenty of rainfall and mild weather to thrive.
Of course, the annual holiday extravaganza at Jacobs' property, which includes hay rides and a gift shop, just wouldn't be the same without fresh-cut trees.
Oklahoma tree farmers continued to dwindle in number this year due to adverse weather. Only 19 fresh-cut tree farms statewide are open for business this year, six fewer than last year, according to the Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association.
Northeast Oklahoma is experiencing its 10th-driest year on record, with rainfall totals about 11 inches below normal, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey reports.
- KYLE ARNOLD, World Staff Writer
Atlas Pipeline buying Cardinal Midstream
Atlas Pipeline Partners LP announced Monday it will buy Dallas-based Cardinal Midstream LLC, which includes several Oklahoma gas processing and transportation assets, for $600 million in cash.
Privately owned Cardinal Midstream has a 120 million-cubic-feet-per-day processing plant in the Arkoma Woodford Basin and 60 miles in gas gathering pipelines. The deal also includes cryogenic processing facilities in Atoka and Coalgate and a 60 percent stake in the Centrahoma Processing LLC joint venture with MarkWest Energy Partners LP.
Atlas Pipeline Partners employs about 90 people in Tulsa and 250 throughout Oklahoma.
"We are very excited about the acquisition of Cardinal Midstream," Atlas Pipeline Partners CEO Eugene Dubay said in a statement. "The profile of assets fits very well with our core focus, which is gathering and processing in liquids-rich basins with increasing producer activity."
The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the month.
- ROD WALTON, World Staff Writer
EUC unemployment benefits may end Jan. 2
Up to 7,000 unemployed Oklahomans soon will no longer be able to collect federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits unless Congress takes action.
The EUC program is set to expire Jan. 2, immediately ending all EUC benefit payments, the Oklahoma Employment Commission announced Tuesday.
For most individuals, EUC payments will cease with the week ending Dec. 29.
EUC was established in July 2008, during the recession, to help the long-term unemployed as they looked for work.
Congress extended the program multiple times since that date, including a scaled-back version of EUC approved in December 2011.
Unemployment claimants are first eligible for up to 26 weeks of regular state jobless benefits from the OESC. When those benefits are exhausted, claimants become eligible for EUC Tier 1 for up to 14 weeks.
Second and third EUC tiers were suspended last summer after the state's average three-month seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell below 6 percent.
- LAURIE WINSLOW, World Staff Writer
Tulsa to host Mississippi Lime conference in April
A new Tulsa energy conference will dig an information channel deep into the prolific Mississippi Lime oil and gas formation next spring.
Houston-based Hart Energy and Tulsa officials announced Wednesday they will launch the DUG Midcontinent Conference on April 22-23 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. The inaugural event will focus on important regional producing areas such as the Mississippi Lime, Granite Wash and Cana-Woodford Shale, among others.
Hart Energy CEO Rich Eichler called the Mississippi Lime, which runs through portions of northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, as the "next generation of resource plays," a once-abandoned formation made productive through the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
"The Mississippi Lime is really becoming a player," Eichler said after a news conference at Tulsa City Hall. "The Mississippi Lime falls into play just behind the Eagle Ford and Bakken shales. It's the application of tried-and-true technologies."
Planners of the DUG Midcontinent Conference - DUG stands for "developing unconventional gas" - expect the event to attract at least 400 people from around the nation. Local companies such as Eagle Energy already are drilling wells in the Mississippi, and national firms such as Marathon, Halcon and Apache also are developing leases there.
Eagle Energy CEO Steve Antry helped connect city and Tulsa Regional Chamber leaders with Hart Energy to bring the DUG Midcontinent to Tulsa. The city's energy sector includes companies in all phases of the energy industry, employing about 23,000 people and generating $10 billion worth of economic impact, according to reports.
- ROD WALTON, World Staff Writer
Hertz integration of Dollar Thrifty begins
Three weeks after Hertz Global Holdings Inc. completed its $87.50-a-share $2.3 billion acquisition of Tulsa's Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc., the process of integrating the two companies has begun, company executives said.
Teams composed of equal numbers of Hertz and Dollar Thrifty employees are examining the best ways to combine eight divisions of the two companies over the next six months, officials said.
"We're making sure there is a lead for each area - operations, fleet, IT (information technology), marketing and sales, finance, communications, HR (human resources), and legal," said Hertz spokesman Richard Broome.
Another team of Hertz properties and real estate executives is evaluating Dollar Thrifty's three company-owned buildings at 5310 E. 31st St. against Hertz's owned and leased facilities in Oklahoma City, where the Park Ridge, N.J.-based rental car firm has a regional operations center employing 1,700 people.
Hertz employs 24,000 people companywide compared with Dollar Thrifty's 6,000 employees.
- D.R. STEWART, World Staff Writer