“Be very careful with doing anything that might screw that up.” Warning from Lee Boothby, CEO of Newfield Exploration.
Executives of four energy companies with extensive work in Oklahoma’s STACK and SCOOP plays made it clear this past week, yes the rewards of the big plays are nice but there are concerns too about how the state legislature might react. And State leaders. And their warning was blunt and to the point.
“When you think about policy and capital involving companies that invest, be careful,” urged Lee Boothby, CEO of Houston-based Newfield Exploration. “The most important thing to remember is, if you have a constructive, positive business environment that is drawing capital into the state, be very careful with doing anything that might screw that up.”
Boothby was most direct of the four oil and company executives who took part in the panel discussion sponsored by the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association at its annual meeting in Oklahoma City.
“It’s too important to put this at risk and do anything that might put us at risk and get this wrong,” added Boothby. “When you’re making a decision about investments, it’s jobs, economic activity, taxes and a healthy economy for today and tomorrow.”
He and the others commented when asked by panel moderator, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb about their concerns of any potential public policy threats. Boothby called the STACK a “great gift to the State of Oklahoma” and said it was too important for the state to do anything wrong.
“Never take it for granted,” he warned again.
Mitch Little, Executive Vice President of Operations for Marathon Oil Corporation agreed with Boothby.
“We recognize the value and we wanta give back, we’re very much pro business,” he added, offering a slightly softer warning to state leaders.
John Lambuth, Senior Vice President of Exploration at Cimarex agreed with the warnings, explaining his company has found other oil and gas plays that appear to be good in other states.
“But we have passed because those states aren’t friendly. Remember, we are in the business to make money,” added Lambuth.
One of those ‘unfriendly’ states is California.
“Our CEO says don’t even bring up California.”
Boothby explained that for every $1 million invested by his company in Oklahoma, it creates 6 direct jobs and 33 indirect jobs in Oklahoma.
“We will invest $1 billion annually and that is likely to grow. And that means 39,000 jobs per $1 billion and the state gets $1.1 billion back in taxes,” said Boothby. “So it’s too important to put this at risk.”