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Energy's renewed significance

The oil and natural gas industry today is as important to Oklahoma as it has ever been.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: January 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014
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Oklahoma economic leaders have worked for decades to diversify the state's economy and reduce its dependence on the oil and natural gas industry.

That seemed like a good idea after the oil patch went bust in the mid-1980s, dragging much of the state economy with it.

Oklahoma has seen success in the diversification effort, especially in the areas of medical research, hospitality and aviation and aerospace.

Over the past 10 years, however, the oil and gas industry has roared back.

Oklahoma companies have led the newest boom by developing many of the key techniques for combining horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Today, the industry is as important to Oklahoma as it was more than three decades ago. That's the conclusion of a report released this week by RegionTrack and the State Chamber.

The report found that the oil and gas industry represents 13.5 percent of the statewide earnings, making the state “as sensitive to the energy sector as it was in 1982.”

The industry also is responsible for 22 percent of all state tax collections and is the “key source of deposits to the state's Rainy Day Fund.”

Oklahoma has benefitted greatly from the industry.

Job creation is up. Wages are up. The growing oil and gas industry helped the state weather the recession much better than most of the country.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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