Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ponca City's Best Neighbor: Now Piling Appliances on the Lawn

Someone in Houston decided that my home town needed a fresh, swift kick in the gut:

ConocoPhillips will relocate all of its approximately 750 non-refinery positions out of Ponca City within two years ... The first 250 jobs will be moved this year to either Houston or Bartlesville ... The first phase begins in 2008’s second quarter, with 180 jobs going to Houston and the rest 70 miles east on U.S. 60 to Bartlesville ... The positions moving first include jobs in technical services, research and development, engineering and support, human resources and Internet technology, among others ... By 2012, the onetime home of Conoco Inc. could no longer have a company non-refining presence other than the Conoco museum. The nearly 750 refinery positions will remain in Ponca City.
I think that's intended to be 2009's second quarter rather than 2008's and information technology rather than Internet technology, but this was, after all, printed in an Oklahoma-based newspaper, and now is not the time to cavil over usage.

My far-flung correspondent Devan draws the right analogy to Kaw City:
In the late 1960s the Army Corps of Engineers constructed Kaw Dam on the Arkansas River just south of the original Kaw City site. It then went underwater permanently in 1976, when the gates of the Kaw Dam closed and turned that particular area of the Arkansas River into Kaw Lake.
"Underwater permanently" is, I am not happy to say, a pretty good portrait of Ponca City's future.

The refinery stays but only because it's not practical to drag underground oil deposits 70 miles east to Bartlesville.

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