This year's list of Oklahoma's top public companies leaves no doubt this is an energy state.
Eight of the top 10, and 15 of the top 20, are energy companies, led by Tulsa-based midstream company NGL Energy Partners LP.
Those figures didn't surprise Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association spokesman Cody Bannister
“Oil and natural gas is our definitive industry,” he said.
The bulk of the Oklahoma's leading companies this year are midstream or service companies, a phenomenon Bannister attributes to the country's renewed emphasis on oil and gas production.
He said producers need new pipeline and other infrastructure to transport oil out of areas like North Dakota's Bakken Shale.
“All that comes through Oklahoma,” he said.
Bannister also noted the continued growth of Cushing's oil storage hub as the ongoing oil boom continues.
“We've essentially hit the reset button on oil and natural gas in Oklahoma,” he said. “That's a great thing.”
Economist Russell Evans said energy companies are dealing with a new operating paradigm based on the realization that natural gas prices are unlikely to reach $10 per thousand cubic feet again.
Companies are scrambling to maximize returns in a capital-intensive industry with little hope of securing such a return from higher commodity prices, so Evans said there are plenty of opportunities for midstream and service companies to make their mark.
“Pressure is on to incorporate new technologies and innovate at every stage of the value chain,” said Evans, director of the Economic Research and Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University. “This will put greater emphasis on the ability of midstream, processing, logistics and transportation partners to innovate new cost savings in those segments of the value chain.”
Evans said companies that do the best job of innovating will be in the best position to succeed in the future.