“Horizontal drilling coupled with hydraulic fracturing has allowed them to go back into these old fields and produce so much more oil and gas than they could have gotten before. It's a boom to landowners.”
The royalty owners association estimates that oil and natural gas producers in Oklahoma paid royalty owners more than $1 billion in 2011.
Nationwide, about 8.5 million royalty owners receive regular checks from oil and natural gas production, Simmons said.
“That's a lot of folks who aren't company executives, but are just regular people who rely on that income,” he said.
While many aspects of the oil and gas industry are growing, the state's publicly traded pipeline and storage companies may have benefitted most over the past year. Five of the top 10 Oklahoma Inc. companies are focused on oil and refined product storage and transportation, which are known as midstream assets.
Increased domestic drilling has changed where pipelines are needed.
Oil production has led companies into new production areas such as the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford formation of south Texas.
It also has led companies to return to areas that produced decades ago, but where the existing infrastructure cannot support current and projected activity.
“You can produce all you want to, but if you can't get it to market, it doesn't do you much good,” Terry said. “You can put all those reserves on the books, but you can't sell it if you don't have that infrastructure. You have to have both. That's why the services sector is so critically important to the production sector. We have to work together.”