Opinion:Missouri Gas Energy v. Grant County Assessor, 2021 OK CIV APP 30
Subject matter:Ad valorem taxes; Oil and gas; Freeport Exemption
Date Decided:January 8, 2021; Mandate Issued: July 21, 2021
Trial Court:District Court of Grant County, Judge Woodward
Route to this Court:Appeal from summary judgment granted in the trial court.
Facts:Missouri Gas Energy (MGE) purchases natural gas outside of Oklahoma and ships the gas in a third-party pipeline to Grant County where it is stored temporarily before being sold outside of Oklahoma. MGE applied to Grant County for an exemption from ad valorem tax on 87.53% of its natural gas stored in Grant County under Oklahoma’s Freeport Exemption, which MGE contends exempts this portion of its gas from ad valorem tax because the gas is not detained in Oklahoma for more than nine months. Grant County denied the exemption. The County’s primary basis for denying the exemption was that MGE commingled its gas with other gas that may have originated in Oklahoma and MGE cannot show what amount of its gas originated outside of Oklahoma nor what amount was stored in Grant County for less than nine months. The trial court granted MGE’s motion for summary judgment. County appeals. 
Standard of Review:De novo while reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.
Analysis:“In this case, MGE offered affidavits, testimony, and documents showing that 87.53% of the gas allocated to it and stored in County originated outside the state, that the gas stored in County turns every nine months, and that MGE sold all of its gas outside of the state.” The Oklahoma Supreme Court has previously made clear that it is the quantity of gas shipped is what is determinative, not the particular molecules. County did not present any evidentiary materials creating a dispute of MGE’s asserted facts and, therefore, MGE was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 
Vote:Swinton, V.C.J. (author), Mitchell, P.J. and Pemberton, J. concur. 
Other: Petition for certiorari denied 8-0. Ordered to be officially published by the Oklahoma Supreme Court (5-2) pursuant to Appellee’s Motion to Publish Opinion filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court after the Court denied certiorari.