Finally, Oklahoma has topped Mississippi in a national ranking. This time, though, it's a good thing.
A standing joke in this state when rankings emerge is, “At least we're not as bad as Mississippi.” This is no joke: Oklahoma offers the most attractive environment for investing in oil and gas development. Mississippi is second.
We topped Texas (third in the ranking) as well as North Dakota (fourth) in Fraser Institute's Global Petroleum Survey for 2012. Oklahoma beat about 150 jurisdictions worldwide. Rankings are based on regulatory climate and infrastructure, among other factors. For environmentalists, being first might mean being last. Yet the progressive meccas of Denmark and the Netherlands made Fraser's top 10, as did Oklahoma neighbors New Mexico (seventh) and Kansas (eighth).
Poor rankings were given to places with unstable governments, which make those countries a bad bet for any type of investment. Examples include Venezuela, Iran, Russia and Libya.
Oklahoma has steadily improved its Global Petroleum Survey ranking. It placed fourth last year and ninth the year before. What this means is the state is increasingly popular with risk-averse people who make investment decisions. Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy cited the Fraser report in an op-ed published in The Oklahoman on July 21.