Reports of the demise of oil exploration and production in Oklahoma are greatly exaggerated.
Note that we said “oil” not “oil and gas.” Exploration companies are hot on the trail of oil because that’s where the money is. Natural gas prices are so depressed that it’s no longer the hot commodity it was just three years ago.
Oklahoma-based energy firms explore for oil and gas throughout the continent, but they aren’t ignoring their own back yard. The Oklahoman’s Jay Marks reports that 2012 intent-to-drill applications hit 3,912 through November, more than the entire 2011 total. To put things in perspective, the figure was 22,685 in 1981. Not long after, a boom became a bust from which the industry slowly recovered.
One industry executive described current activity as “measured but steady.” That’s not a term normally associated with a heritage industry known for spectacular booms and devastating busts. Measured but steady is a good thing.