Oklahoma experiences prosperity in oil, natural gas industry in 2011 due to new technology, resource plays; 60% of state's November revenue from oil production, 80% of state's known oil resources still underground

OKLAHOMA CITY , December 30, 2011 () – Oklahoma flexed its muscles as an energy state in 2011.

The state’s oil and natural gas industry is experiencing the kind of prosperity not seen since its heyday in the 1980s.

“It’s a virtual boom going on in Oklahoma,” Domestic Energy Producers Alliance President Mike Cantrell said.

Cantrell credited the discovery of new resource plays and technological advances with changing the landscape of oil and gas exploration in the state.

He said about 60 percent of the state’s revenue last month came from oil production.

“Oklahoma is now an oil state again,” Cantrell said. “Revenue is what counts.”

The state is home to two major oil and natural gas plays: western Oklahoma’s Cana Woodford and the Mississippian in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

Three of the state’s largest energy companies — Devon Energy Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Oklahoma City-bound Continental Resources Inc. — boast significant positions in the western Oklahoma play, while newly oil-focused SandRidge Energy Inc. made the Mississippian one of the centerpieces of its transformation.

SandRidge CEO Tom Ward has predicted development of the Mississippian could bring more than 100,000 jobs to Oklahoma and Kansas over the next five years, with Oklahoma City being the hub for that growth.

Both plays have gained attention from energy producers because they are rich in natural gas liquids, which sell for about the same price as crude oil.

Independent Petroleum Association spokesman Cody Bannister said one expert has estimated as much as 80 percent of the state’s known oil resources are still underground.

“There’s still significant reserves out there,” he said. “Smaller producers are going back into fields that were abandoned long ago. They’re using new technology to open up areas of exploration that weren’t possible even 15 or 20 years ago.”

The year also included some good news for the wind industry in Oklahoma, as state regulators granted public utility status to Clean Line Energy Partners.

Clean Line is planning to build a $3.5 billion electrical transmission line that will pass through parts of Oklahoma to carry 7,000 megawatts of wind energy to Tennessee and other southeastern states.

“The Clean Line energy project is a crucial key to unlock the wind potential of the Oklahoma Panhandle,” said Kylah McNabb, wind development specialist for the state Department of Commerce.

McNabb also said two Oklahoma wind projects got national attention in 2011: the completion of a wind farm near Minco last month that provides power to Google’s data center in Pryor and the September announcement of a planned wind farm that will transmit power to Alabama.

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