‘Colorful’ enterprises good for area economy

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 28, 2008

As national media broadcast news and stories about housingforeclosures, soaring food and fuel prices and other economic doomand gloom, Southwest Mississippi can find some positive news thanksto a couple of “colorful” enterprises that are prospering in thearea.

KFG Petroleum Corp. is capitalizing on a timely discovery of”black gold” in southwest Lincoln County’s Center Point Field. Morethan 10 weeks after well installation, the field is providing 130barrels of oil a day.

It should be noted that the larger Denbury Resources iscontinuing its activities involving carbon dioxide and using it tobring oil to the surface. The process has helped bring an oldBrookhaven-area oil well back to life and produce 8,000 barrels aday.

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The oil discovery efforts are geared toward boosting domesticproduction of the resource. Higher worldwide demand and reliance onforeign suppliers to provide that resource have spurred thoseefforts to find it domestically.

Higher fuel prices have not been totally bad, however, as theyhave increased demand for a product made by another “colorful’ areaenterprise.

Organic Growing Systems, which has a production plant inMonticello, has seen a 300 percent increase in business during thelast four months. The plant turns a by-product of area chickenfarms into organic fertilizer pellets used to meet a variety ofgardening and farming needs.

OGS officials said their increase in business is due in part torising fuel costs and their impact on the price of syntheticfertilizing materials. The price of synthetic fertilizer, which ismade with the use of petroleum products, has risen 200 percentsince last year, a plant official said.

While some doom and gloomers and other naysayers may pooh-poohas too small to make much impact such activities as the chickenlitter plant and the oil recovery efforts, financial data regardingthe activities indicate otherwise.

KGB officials said a 25 percent royalty – $100,000 – is dividedabout 20 minerals rights holders, and a 12.5 percent tax goes thestate. That means landowners are pocketing $5,000 a month, and thecounty gets a rebate on the state taxes paid.

With its rapidly expanding plant, OGS officials expect to upemployment from the current 14 to as many as 50 workers, possiblyby the end of the year. That will, in turn, provide more payrolldollars that will be turned over several times to benefit the localeconomy.

Oil is often referred to as “black gold,” and the chicken litterplant could be seen as dealing with ‘brown gold.” Regardless, green- as in money – is the most important color when it comes to theseactivities’ impact on Southwest Mississippi and the area’seconomy.