I’ve been around newspapers … specifically The Oklahoman … for a long time. Today, I”m covering my first live event for the paper as its energy reporter.
So for a cub energy reporter, to have an opportunity to cover Harold Hamm, CEO and chairman of the board of Continental Resources, Inc., “Buddy” Kleemeier, president and chief executive officer of Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., Aubrey McClendon, board chairman, CEO and a director of Chesapeake Energy and Larry Nichols, chairman and CEO of Devon Energy Corp., is about like covering the oil and gas Superbowl of Oklahoma.
I’d love to tell you what they said. And I will — in tomorrow’s The Oklahoman.
Jack Money, Business Writer, The Oklahoman
The first discussion of the day here focuses on Oklahoma’s “Fossil Future,” dealing with Oklahoma’s Oil and Gas industry. Participants include Debra K. Higley-Feldman, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Sam Langford, manager of planning, acquisitions and commercial development for Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent in Tulsa, Robin Stead, a past commissioner on the Oklahoma Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Well Commission, and Howard L. Ground, manager of governmental and environmental affairs for PSO of Oklahoma.
Higley-Feldman told audience members about the USGS’s work to catelouge oil and gas resources in the nation, while Langford talked about excitement being generated by the Woodford Shale in southeast Oklahoma among players in the gas exploration industry, including his firm.
Stead told audience members marginally producing oil and gas wells remain a significant part of the nation’s energy industry and will continue that role for decades to come, while Ground is telling audience members now about carbon capture techniques for coal-burning power plants.
Jack Money, Business Writer, The Oklahoman
The idea here is not just for the panelists to give presentations, but the audience to participate in the discussions.
To facilitate that, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission incorporated an “audience response system” into the conference.
“It is our first time using it,” says Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Corporation Commission.
Audience members basically are asked to just hang little plastic keyboards the size of name tags around their necks. When presenters ask a question, audience members can respond by pressing the keys on their keyboards. The keyboards are linked to a computer and program that tabulates the responses, which then can be shown on a center screen.
“We will be doing questions throughout the day … even writting them, depending on what audience members say during discussions,” Skinner says.
“It looks like a little calculator. I don’t klnow if experience in texting is a plus, but we will see. The younger people, I’m thinking, will do quite well.”
By Jack Money, Business Writer, The Oklahoman
Welcome to the Oklahoma Energy Summit 2007, in Oklahoma City.
The conference might be termed a first-ever meeting involving a diverse group of constituents who include conservationists, environmentalists, oil and gas industry leaders, wind power and solar advocates and more.
Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, says interest in the summit is high. The room at the Oklahoma History Center where the summit is being held holds 232 people; 261 people are attending and another 50 people are waiting to get in.
“And they are from all across the state,” Skinner says.
By Jack Money, Business Writer, The Oklahoman
I was just finishing up interviewing some shop owners and a few late customers carrying bags stuffed with Black Friday bargains when I spotted a figure huddled near the ground holding a going-out-0f-business sign on the corner of 15th and Bryant in Edmond. At first I wasn’t even sure there was a person holding the sign, maybe it was just a large pile of clothing.
Walking closer, I came upon Gary Chambers, bundled from head to toe except for his blue eyes. Chambers currently resides at City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City and was hired for a six-hour shift to hold the sign for Bombay & Co. in Spring Creek Plaza. For his time, he’ll earn $30.
There were two other men holding signs on opposite corners.
It’s a pretty cold day outside with temperatures barely making it into the 40s, and windy, so I had one of those stupid reporter moments and blurted out, “Is this job even worth $30?”
“It’s better than sitting around at the shelter all day,” Chambers said.
Who knew there were this many people who get this excited about Black Friday?
I found Linda Coffin, 63, of Choctaw, buying a pair of mittens at JC Penney in Penn Square Mall (my second trip of the day).
I couldn’t help but ask her what inspired her to wear reindeer antlers and make her own T-shirt praising the “Day After.”
“The family!” she exclaimed. “Our family just has dadgum so much fun shopping together.”
A pretty refreshing answer.
Apparently, she and 10 other family members do this every year starting at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.
Stops include Shoe Carnival, Penn Square Mall and lunch at Pepperoni Grill.
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer 2:50 p.m.
I had a game plan.Sure it was rural Western Oklahoma on Black Friday, but that’s no reason not to exercise my right as an American. On this day, that meant rushing out to the Elk City Wal-Mart before dawn with a handful of credit cards and no willpower.
So, I drove into Elk from my mother in-law’s farm near Hammon and arrived at the Wal-Mart store at 4:50 a.m. The store opened in 10 minutes, and I discovered about 300 of my closest friends were already waiting in the parking lot.
I took my place at the back of the line and waited. Conversation revolved around the size of the crowd and the surprise that some folks had at seeing that many people standing in 27-degree weather in the parking lot of Wally World.
“I didn’t know there were this many crazy people in Elk City,” a man said to his wife as we waited.
Just as the doors to the store opened, the woman behind me enthusiastically told her two teen-age children, “remember, the only thing illegal today is murder!”
With that we surged through the doors. I wanted desperately to get back to the electronics aisle.
Apparently, so did about 80 percent of the crowd and total gridlock ensued.
I waded into the traffic jam searching for the bargain printer I had seen advertised in a newspaper insert. When I didn’t spot it, I feared the worst: super early bird shoppers had grabbed them up already.
But then I spotted a printer in the shopping cart of a woman who was trying to work her way against the traffic flow.
Where did you get that, I asked.
She pointed to the opposite end of the electronics section. I rushed out of the electronics aisle, detoured through the much-less-crowded men’s clothing department and arrived on the back side of electronics; it’s an old flanking maneuver I learned in previous Black Fridays.
There were the printers! I reached over the shopping cart of a woman stuck in traffic and grabbed one.
With most of the crowd still stalled in gridlock, I sailed through the checkout process and was back in my car in less than five minutes.
I checked “Wal-Mart” off my list and drove directly to the Atwoods store across town where a bargain lounge chair had my name written all over it.
I took the easy road this morning and didn’t check on Black Friday shopping until after 10 a.m. By that time, I figured the hard-core shoppers would be headed home and the lines would be down to near nothing. Wrong.
I headed to Kohl’s at Danforth and Santa Fe in Edmond. The parking lot was packed, my first clue. Inside the store, the line for the cash registers stretched from the front of the store to the rear.
One guy said, “I guess I should have gotten up at 4 a.m. after all.”
Another lady stopped and asked, “What is this line for?” “Check out,” somebody told her. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding,” she said. Nope. People never get enough.
Black Friday shoppers search through CDs after the doors opened at 5:00 AM at the Best Buy store on North May Avenue in Oklahoma City. Shoppers at many stores camped out the day before.
Oklahomans have been out and about today trying to catch the best deals. Click here to see who’s out there.
If you’ve spent today at the usual Black Friday stops–Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, etc.–chances are you’ve run into one of these women.
Hailing from Duncan and Tulsa, they call themselves “Just the Girls” and refer to the day after Thanksgiving as their “Annual Hunt.”
After almost 10 years together, the group has grown to 14. This is the first year they designed their own red “Hunting for a Bargain” T-shirts, featuring a woman in camo.
Although they say their shop-a-thon is strictly for fun, they mean business.
Today they started at 6 a.m. at the Wal-Mart in Duncan and made their way to Oklahoma City in four cars. They suspect their day won’t end until 9 p.m. tonight at an Olive Garden–their annual Black Friday dinner tradition.
If you see them, be sure to say hello!
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer 10:50 a.m.