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Steffes testing equipment, hearing scheduled

Courtesy Photo A Steffes engineered flare located at an undisclosed Kodiak Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. site is shown in this undated photo.

Steffes Corp. of Dickinson recently manufactured a product for the smokeless flaring of gases in oil drilling operations. Officials are testing it and have applied for an income tax exemption tied to the


"When you're drilling for oil, not just oil comes out of the earth, but natural gas comes up as well," said Todd Mayer, Steffes engineering manager. "Over a wide range of gas flow rates, we're able to burn the gasses smokeless."

The product also monitors activity, making it possible to always know if it's working correctly, he said.

"We're continuously monitoring the flame to make sure we always have a flame present," Mayer said.

The State Board of Equalization will meet at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 3 to consider the tax exemption


"You can get a state income tax exemption either for a new business or an expansion of an existing business," Marcy Dickerson, state supervisor of assessments.

A new product is considered an expansion, she added.

"They've had a number of exemptions because they make a number of different products," Dickerson said.

Anyone opposed to the exemption can attend and be heard by the board.

"The theory is these tax exemptions are incentives to do business in the state and it's good to have these people doing business in the state," Dickerson said. "There is a lot of disparity of opinion as to how much actual effect these exemptions have."

Dickerson said normally those who come to hearings to oppose exemptions are a competitor with a similar product.

The maximum exemption Steffes could get is 100 percent of income generated from the product for five years, she added.

"The board can grant them something less or grant them nothing if that's what they think they should do," Dickerson said.

Steffes has been developing the product -- which meets Environmental Protection Agency requirements -- for about a year, Mayer said.

Testing on the product will continue through the winter, he said.

"We expect this to be one of our more significant product lines," Mayer said. "To start with for sure, our main focus will be services the Bakken oil play."

Written comments regarding the exemption applications can be addressed to State Board of Equalization, Office of State Tax Commissioner, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, 58505-0599.