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New technology, high oil price keep industry functioning

Over the past decade, horizontal drilling and fracking have reignited the oil industry.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: June 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: June 5, 2014

Former University of Tulsa professor Parke Dickey understood today’s oil and natural gas industry as well as he did when he studied that industry more than half a century ago.

In 1958, Dickey famously defined how the industry finds oil.

“We usually find oil in new places with old ideas,” he said. “Sometimes we find oil in old places with a new idea, but we seldom find much oil in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought we were running out of oil when actually we were running out of ideas.”

Dickey’s explanation has been supported by the rapid growth over the past decade as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have reignited the industry and reversed four decades of declining domestic production.

The technology combined with strong commodity prices has allowed companies to recover large amounts of oil and natural gas from both new areas and from some of the longest-producing fields in the country.

My desk is covered in various books about the oil and natural gas industry written over the past decade. The titles show how much the industry has changed in such a short time.

From “The End of Oil” and “Beyond Oil” to “The Bottomless Well” and “The Frackers,” the industry has evolved in many ways in terms of its outlook and expectations.

Concern is overstated

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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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