I recently had the opportunity to attend the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s 2015 Oil and Gas Institute. The 2015 Institute, held at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, included a number of excellent speakers addressing many pertinent topics in the oil and gas industry.

Topics included a mock pooling hearing addressing the issue of fair market value, a presentation on subsurface trespass and the resulting damages and a presentation of horizontal completions, hydraulic fracturing and bottom hole surveys. Each of these presentations proved to be informative and educational. 

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy’s presentation displayed the changing dynamics in the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Industry. Commissioner Murphy began with a historical overview looking back at Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry not only from the production side but explaining the evolution of horizontal drilling in Oklahoma. Commissioner Murphy was kind enough to allow me to use a couple her slides which you will find at the end of this article.

The first slide deals with the rise of completed horizontal wells versus completed vertical wells since 2007. As you will note, in 2007 there were only 644 horizontal wells completed in Oklahoma versus 3,654 vertical wells. Since that time, horizontal completions have been on a steady rise while vertical completions have decreased dramatically. One lone exception was in 2009 which was considered “the downturn year”. In 2012, horizontal completions began to outnumber vertical completions. And, by 2014, horizontal completions outnumbered vertical completions 1,947 to 736. Amazingly, the oil and gas industry reinvented itself. To see these drastic changes in just seven short years, is a credit to the American entrepreneurial spirit and one can only imagine where we might be seven years into the future.

The second slide depicts the location and number of the horizontal wells completed in Oklahoma from January 1, 2011 through February 28, 2015. It is an excellent representation of not only the concentrated areas of the horizontal activity but also the density of that activity.

I encourage minerals owner to consider attending the 2016 Oil and Gas Institute given by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. And, once again, many thanks to Commissioner Murphy for allowing me to use these slides in this article.

This past month America lost one of its national treasures when Yogi Berra passed away. For those of you who may not know of Yogi Berra, he was the catcher for the New York Yankees during their championship years in the forties and fifties. He was on ten world championship teams, an eighteen time all-star and was named as the most valuable player three times. However, his real talent was not in his athletic ability but in his charm and humor. Part of Yogi’s charm was that he did not always use correct or applicable words to complete his many thoughts. These thoughts became known as Yogi-isms. However, the eloquence was always recognized by the true sports fans. One of my favorite Yogi-isms is “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That’s exactly what the oil and gas industry did in 2007. We should all be grateful for that and, of course, for Yogi Berra.