TULSA — Gov. Mary Fallin's annual energy conference drew a record crowd Wednesday, the first time it was staged in Tulsa.
More than 500 people attended the 2013 Governor's Energy Conference at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa.
Fallin said it was fitting to have the third annual conference in Tulsa since it once was the oil capital of the world. The first two conferences were in Oklahoma City.
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who described himself as the only mayor of a major city with oil and natural gas experience, said Oklahoma has long been supportive of the energy industry.
Wednesday's conference included a keynote speech by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who spoke about how his state has dealt with the oil boom fueled by companies like Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc.
Development of the state's Bakken Shale formation has turned North Dakota into the nation's second-largest oil producer, trailing only Texas. The state produced a record 875,000 barrels of oil a day in July.
Dalrymple said North Dakota's oil boom is expected to continue, noting the state already has approved applications to drill an additional 7,500 wells. There are about 5,700 producing wells in the state now.
The biggest challenge for producers in North Dakota, he said, is the lack of infrastructure.
Dalrymple said Tulsa-based ONEOK Inc. has invested more than $4 billion in natural gas gathering and processing facilities in North Dakota with partner Hess Corp., but the state still needs more.
“It is essentially a race to keep up with the new production,” he said. “Getting more pipeline capacity is tough to do overnight.”
Other speakers at Wednesday's conference included Mike Ming, general manager of the new GE Oil and Gas Technology Center planned for Oklahoma City, and Michael Teague, Oklahoma's new energy and environment secretary.
The conference also featured a panel discussion with state higher education leaders and another included four Tulsa energy executives.
The conference was presented by Fallin and the University of Tulsa's Collins College of Business. Other partners included the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment's office, state Commerce Department, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, the State Chamber of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and Saxum.