The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 10, 2001 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAI GREAT PLAINS TUESDAY, APRIt: 10, 2001 A3 • OIL High prices produce more wells Independent producer drills first well in more than a dozen years By The Associated Press GOFF — Jim Mietchen isn't . complaining about high energy prices. They're what has drawn him and other independent oilmen back into the business. In 1988, Mietchen decided low oil prices no longer made it profitable to explore and drill. , So after drilling more than 600 ' wells, he semiretired to a farm south of Lawrence. ,' Now he's back. ; "It kind of gets ahold of 'you," he said last month, watching as a diamond-tipped ' drill bit ripped into the Kansas prairie. At a cost of about : $100,000, he hoped to strike oil. The return of independent oilmen like Mietchen could be , as good an indicator as any that higher energy prices are begin' ning to boost production. Mietchen has been watching :• CRIME oil prices closely. When they dropped as low as $10 a barrel, he wanted nothing to do with it. But his interest rose over.the last year as prices topped $20, then were in the $25 to $30 range. "I've been itching to get back in, and now I can," he said. Mietchen's first well in more than a dozen years is north of Topeka on farmland near the town of Goff Eventually, he hopes to have 50 wells on IfiQQ acres that he has leased. Others are getting the same idea. In March 1999, only nine rigs were drilling for oil or gas in Kansas. Last month, the number of rigs was at 48. "The rebound is going to take time," said Alan Byrnes, research geologist for the Kansas Geological Survey "But the state of the industry is now in a far better position." Resurgent prices and production could stabilize what has become a downward spiral for the oil industry in Kansas. In 1956, the state produced 124 "The rebound is going to take time. But the state of the industry is now in a far better position." Alan Byrnes Kansas Geological Survey million barrels of oil and as recently as 1973 produced more oil than it used. But by 1999, production was down to 35 million barrels — about half what the state used. Even so, that still was enough to make Kansas the eighth-largest oil producer in the United States, and there is budding hope that better days may be ahead. "Everyone is becoming cautiously optimistic," said Dean Seeber, a consulting geologist in El Dorado. The Energy Information Ad­ ministration says independents need about $15 a barrel and sometimes a little more to pay for expenses in finding and recovering oil. Mietchen thinks he can find it on his 1,600-acre lease near Goff. "I hope I haven*t lost my instincts, but I believe there's plenty of oil trapped in there," he said. On April 1, Mietchen struck oil. But a geologist decided there wasn't enough of it to make the well economical. The next day the well was plugged. The well ended up costing about $150,000. Mietchen said he wasn't discouraged. In fact, he thinks finding only a small amount of oil is a sign that larger pools are nearby By last Tuesday, he had found two more rigs and was making plans to drill more wells. "There are some major oil fields here. It's going to be real exciting," he said. "I'm just tickled to be back in it." BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ADULT NOVELTIES VIDEOS' LOTIONS • MAGAZINES 11 am - 9 pm Mon. - Sat • I pm • 5 |im Sun. 1901 W. Grand • Salini • (785) 823-1339 Fluents oiM^ ""Salina Journal Conmxlitig cmnmmilies viiUt ii \iormtum E. Crawford Street Bistro & Cafe Salmon $ Q50 Sunday Buffet Chicken Fried $^50 Steak 1 ' Customized Caterinfr! Tues.-Sat. 11-2, 5-9 • Sunday II-2 1200 E. Crawford • 827-2728 Salina Area Diabetes Association Meeting "niesday, April lOth, 7:30 p.m. SRHC • Penn Campus • Conference Room #1 "Dental Care for Diabetics" Dr. Lynn Wutlinow, D.D.S. Questions? Call .Janice Fuller, 827-2895 Fonner financial planner pleads guilty r Abilene man pleads jguilty to stealing more than $1 million By The Salina Journal ABILENE — A former American Express representative in Salina originally slated to be ! tried beginning today for steal- r ing more than $1 million from 'Clients has pleaded guilty to s seven counts of securities fraud. Verdell Tassler, 59, Abilene, ;T RAILROAD entered his plea to the charges March 19. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 14 in Abilene by District Judge Ben Sexton. Tassler, who also was a former pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2349 S. Ohio, formerly represented IDS Financial Services, which formerly was the financial-advising arm of American Express. He was accused of selling nonexistent securities to clients and pocketing the money, while covering his scheme by sending those clients monthly interest payments, said James Clark, an attorney with the state's Office of the Securities Commissioner. Tassler, who has no criminal record, faces a presumptive prison sentence under Kansas sentencing laws. He could receive up to 19 months, Clark said. Clark said the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed to ask for $1.2 million in restitution, to be paid to American Express. The company has iRailroad wants to keep new tracks By The Associated Press ; HUTCHINSON — The new l^owner of a short-line railroad 4n western Kansas says it wants (to avoid abandoning any track. "Our goal is to abandon nothing," said Ed McKechnie, a spokesman for Watco Companies and a former Kansas legislator Pittsburg-based Watco agreed last week to buy 900 miles of track from Central Kansas Railway Much of the track was in ^danger of abandonment. Watco also owns the South- li^east Kansas Railroad, South 'Kansas & Oklahoma Railroads. [It plans to begin operating the ;Central Kansas Railway track 'june 1. At that point, Watco will control track west to Towner, Colo., north to Osborne, southwest to Protection, southeast to Columbus and south through Tulsa and Oklahoma City The combination of the three former rail- yroad properties will be called the ekansas & Oklahoma Railroad, 'i The company also owns atrack in Texas, Louisiana, Ore- ;gon, Washington and Idaho. Watco plans to spend $55 million in the next 10 years to restore the Kansas lines, plus regular maintenance, McKechnie said. Some of the track, notably ^the lines between Salina and Osborne, are too lightweight to meet current industry standards, he said. Just to get started, however, Watco needs $16 million for the first two years of improvements and another $3.2 million to buy and lease grain cars, McKechnie said. It's looking for help from the state and federal government. The Transportation committee of the Kansas House sent a bill to the full house last week that would give Watco $10 mUlion in property and income tax credits for the next 20 years up front. The FREE Roth IRA Information WADDELL &rREED bill also would establish a port authority in Pittsburg. Kansas Transportation Secretary Dean Carlson appeared before the committee to pass along an endorsement by Gov Bill Graves. Another Watco endorsement came from the Kansas Agricultural Alliance. Financial Services" Member SIPC Investing. With a plan.°" Toni Renfro 131 N. SanlaFe, Suile lA Salina, KS 67401 785-827-3606 ALL FURNITURE ON SALE Your Full Line FURNITURE STOI In-Store Financing \ mm S2r>-r >7(i7 . MS S. liinailway, .Salina Moil.- Fii. !l:ilO-(i:(IO • Sal. !)::i ()^r>:()l) ]SAay the joy and promise of Easter be with you all year. 2737 Belmont 823-5129 9 ALLS EAT H OME M EDICAL E QUIPMINT B&K Prescription Shop People Helping People...Live Healthier Lives 827-4455/ 1-800-432-0224 601 E. Iron Salinq, KS 9 compensated victims of the fraud scheme, which allegedly took place from 1993 to 1999. A total of eight people in Cloud and Saline counties and three in Dickinson were defrauded. As a condition of the plea bargain, Tassler will be barred from dealing in securities, Clark said. Worker's Special! $4.00 PER RIDE $3.50 Senior Citizens 785-819-1507 The G Spot presents MAXFIELD PARISH High Energy Rock N Roll .1 f Mf April 13 & 14 Doors open at 7 p.m. Show starts at 9 p.m. No cover charge 7-9 p.m. $5 cover charge after 9 p .m. (No dancers on these nights) Live At 1334 W. North Salina, KS 67401 785-493-8252 m in for; specfecular i 'Gi|n(ima ',s1Specialties Lei Grandma Max treat your family on Easter Sunday Savory Baked Ham, PrimeRib, Baked Chicken, and our world famous Fried Ctiicken. Plus freshly mashed potatoes, homemade soups, scrumptious salads and luscious desserts, it's Grandma's Easter Parade of tempting delights, and we're cookin' it up fresh just for you. ^mndma. pestaupant We seiA 'c onl\' ircsh ground wlKile l)eari collcc 1944 Noilli 9lli Bossclman •|Ta\'el Cenier Salina SUPERIOR ROOFING is now teamed up w"'^ ^ Roofing and Supply. Workers compensation, 1 ii i and insured. Residential Specialists.' When you call Superior Roofing Co., you have 50 years of combined experience working for you. You want quality at a fair price? Call Superior Roofing. We do all residential roofing and 2% commercial. Call 827-1217 for your •jg-jgg free estimate. Superior Roofing, member of the — y Better Business Bureau and the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. MEMBEII SOUTHEAST CENTRAL t WESTERN KANSAS mmmm P&oU^, SpcWy Potto-^ BCUCardy Elaine Lohf-Owner GRAND OPENING April 9 through April 14 Drawing to be held April 14th, 2001. TRAEGER Buy a Traeger Grill and get a cover and 40 lbs. of pellets FREE! Pool Tables & Supplies Save up to $400! Above Ground Swimming Pools Save $200 and get a pool cleaner FREE! We carry a full line of pool chemicals including: Guanie\ Biolab 1945 S. Ohio, Salina / 785-823-8142 Acwss the street from Wendy's

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