Oklahoma Inc.: Unit Corp. relies on all segments of business

It took a team effort to propel Tulsa's Unit Corp. into the top tier of Oklahoma companies this year.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2011
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It took a team effort to propel Unit Corp.into the top tier of Oklahoma companies this year.

CEO Larry Pinkston said all three segments of Unit's business contributed to its success.

Fueled by its contract drilling, oil and natural gas and midstream businesses, Unit ranked No. 7 on this year's Oklahoma Inc. list, with revenues up 33.6 percent.

Pinkston said most of the heavy lifting this year was done by Unit's contract drilling segment, which currently boasts a fleet of 126 land rigs. The company has built five new rigs this year, with plans to add two more in the fourth quarter.

He said 82 rigs were running Tuesday, with demand varying due to the type of wells being drilled by producers who contract with Unit.

Usage of Unit's rigs is driven by oil and natural gas liquids prices.

“It's pretty profitable right now to drill for those products,” Pinkston said.

He said seven of Unit's rigs are being used by the company's oil and gas segment in Oklahoma and Texas.

Unit traditionally has focused on finding natural gas in the Oklahoma Panhandle and East Texas, but Pinkston said the company turned its attention to liquids production due to lower gas prices, like many other producers.

The recession that killed natural gas prices basically shut down a lot of exploration activities, so he said it took Unit some time to build up momentum on the production side.