Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Sunflower state is broadening its horizons, opening the door to energy production and exploration.
Experts addressed Kansas’ role as an energy leader during an economic summit in Wichita Tuesday.
The meeting took place just one day after BP wind announced plans to build a 419-megawatt wind farm across four Kansas counties. But the state will also be cashing in on traditional energy resources. Experts believe oil and gas could be on the verge of reviving south central Kansas.
"Kansas may be a part of that story and we're looking forward to testing the opportunity here and seeing if it can deliver the same potential we've seen in other states," said Erik Bartsch, Shell Oil company spokesman.
Shell Oil will start work on their first of several hundred exploratory wells in Harper County Wednesday. It will be the company’s first exploration in the state in about 20 years. But drillers will be forced to fight the fickle Kansas weather, and extreme drought conditions.
“I never thought I'd have a team searching for water,” Bartsch said. “But I have an entire group and their job is to manage and search for water to make these completions."
Some officials believe the new oil boom could rival North Dakota and Texas as drillers explore the Mississippi limestone play in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma.
Gov. Sam Brownback said the impact could bring more jobs to Kansas.
“If we’re in that league of that scale of play, this is a significant issue for us going forward,” Brownback said. “It will mean a lot of resources coming in and a lot of resources being produced here in Kansas.”