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Feb 19, 2013 8:51 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

Oil expected to impact Florence economy

It's anything but a new industry in Florence.

The city is home to the first recognized oil field west of the Mississippi River. The field has been producing since the 1890s and hasn't dried up yet.

"It's porduced about 16 million barrels of oil so far," said Sharon Regan-Williams with Incremental Oil and Gas, "geologic experts in the area think there's at least that much left and now the question is how to get the rest of it out."

Some wells are already producing while others have yet to be tapped.

Florence has a 10-percent unemployment rate and,while fracking is controversial, an economic jumpstart would revitalize the community.

"The vast majority of people I've heard from are supportive of the oil industry in Florence," City Manager Mike Patterson said.

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