City officials say Phillips' move good for Bartlesville


Tuesday, February 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) -- Residents here say that Phillips'

purchase of Tosco Corp. will be good for the local economy, despite speculation that some jobs may be lost in the acquisition.

"I can tell you I had coffee with about a dozen people this morning," Mayor Ted Lockin said Monday, "and the sentiment across the community is the same. We see this as very good news."

Bartlesville-based Phillips announced Sunday it was purchasing Tosco in a $7 billion stock transaction, including eight U.S.

refineries with a total capacity of 1.35 million barrels per day and 6,400 retail outlets in 32 states.

"There is speculation that some jobs will be moved to Arizona," Chamber of Commerce Director Pam Dunlap said, "but I would say any job loss will be short-term. Rather, we expect this means job growth in the long-term.

"This is a very promising move. It will strengthen Phillips in the energy market and is being received as very positive and very promising news here."

Lockin, who worked for Phillips for 30 years, said his community recognizes the importance of the company to the local economy.

"We've seen some ups and downs during Phillips' 84 years in the community," Lockin said. "There were some anxieties during those takeovers a few years ago, but these latest acquisition moves will have a very positive impact on Bartlesville."

At the peak of the oil boom in 1980, Phillips employed nearly 9,000 of the town's total work force of 19,000.

Today, Phillips employs about 2,800 of the town's work force of 21,000, according to Chamber figures.

City leaders say Bartlesville does not solely rely on Phillips for a robust economy.

The city has diversified its job market, brining in jobs from the manufacturing and technology sectors. There has been positive job growth since 1996, even during down-sizing efforts at Phillips'

home base.

Officials also say sales tax collections are up, the housing market is strong and people -- families and retirees -- are moving to town.