And that’s just fine. Because this is one scoop I personally don’t think is fully cooked, and I’m not at all certain we’re about to see Continental Resources moving its headquarters to downtown Oklahoma City.
First, here’s a link to my competitor’s scoop: http://www.dolanmedia.com/view.cfm?recID=647913
And now, some background on why I’ve not gone with a similar story to date, even though I’ve been hearing the same talk of Continental Resources since the day The Oklahoman broke news of the sale of Devon’s current headquarters to Ford Price.
My job would be A LOT easier if I could rumors for stories. That having been said, I’ve got some very good sources indicating what Bailey has in the JR story.
I respect Bailey – she’s done good work. But I guarantee you she doesn’t know if it’s actually Continental moving in, just as I don’t know whether it’s Continental moving in.
Two weeks before the Kerr-McGee Headquarters sale went down in 2007, I had impeccable sources tell me Chesapeake was buying Kerr-McGee Tower. The deal didn’t make sense to me at the time, and the same sources were being careful in saying it wouldn’t be Chesapeake moving into the tower.
I didn’t go with a story at that time because I didn’t have enough good info – and sure enough, while it was Chesapeake that bought KM Tower from Anadarko, they turned around and sold it to SandRidge.
Harold Hamm, founder of Continental, has been a very big booster in Enid, currently home to Continental.
Consider this story from May 8, 2009:
ENID — While many growing oil and gas companies have abandoned small Oklahoma towns for metropolises such as Houston in recent decades, Continental Resources executives say they like Enid just fine.
“It’s a great place to live. It has a nice downtown square and great quality of life,” said Harold Hamm, Continental’s chairman.
The community of about 50,000 also has a “long, storied history with oil,” Hamm said, noting it has been the home of Champlin Exploration, Eason Oil Co. and Knox Oil Co., among others.
Hamm said history is important because it meant he had a deep pool of talent to draw upon when he came to Enid in the 1960s and began establishing his oil businesses.
Few traffic woes
Hamm’s management team shares his enthusiasm for Enid.
John Hart, Continental’s chief financial officer, said he lived in Dallas 11 years and doesn’t miss the daily commute.
“The traffic there meant less time with family and kids,” he said.
“People in Houston understand that. We’ve been fairly successful in the past in attracting people out of Houston. We’re able to attract the right people and don’t have the turnover some companies have.”
J. Warren Henry, vice president of investor relations, said one of the wonderful things about Enid is Continental employees have a chance to get involved in community projects in ways that make a difference.
Regardless of whether a person is talking about raising money for the local YMCA, public schools, or the Enid Symphony — Continental Resources is involved in all those projects and more, he said.
“In some ways, it’s a chance to be an incubator for change,” Hart said.
“And my sense is people really appreciate it,” Henry said.
Chance to be heard
Jack Stark, senior vice president of exploration, said recent college graduates seem to be attracted by the relatively flat management structure at Continental which gives them a chance to make decisions and directly present ideas to senior management.
“Nobody here is surprised when Harold (Hamm) comes in and sits in their cubicle,” Henry said. “There is an opportunity for students to come out of college and get responsibility immediately.”
With the above story just a year or so old, a move to OKC would be a radical change in direction. Something isn’t adding up here, and that’s why I say reporting rumors of Continental Resources moving to Devon’s current headquarters might prove to be a bit risky for the JR. But then again, consider the rather weak denial by Continental’s spokesman – he’s denying the company has bought the building. He’s not denying anything else.
My gut tells me that as with the Chesapeake buying KM Tower story, there may be some twists, turns and surprises on this one as well. I’ve spent a lot of time hunting it down. There’s a part of this story that is still a mystery to many people.