Why Do So Many Companies Want to Do Business in Oklahoma?

Photo credit: Marathon Oil Corporation

North Dakota and Texas hold two of America's hottest oil resources plays. That's why oil companies and investors are flocking to profit from the oil-fueled growth these two states provide. However, those aren't the only two states benefiting from the oil boom, as more companies are now also taking a closer look at some very intriguing oil plays in Oklahoma.

SCOOPing up more oil
Marathon Oil Corporation
(NYSE: MRO  ) is one of the many companies growing its presence in the state. The company noted in its latest earnings release that it had boosted its acreage position in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province play , or SCOOP, by 20%. It's also doubling its drilling rig activity in 2014, as it plans to drill more wells targeting Oklahoma's Woodford formation. This SCOOP-fueled growth is a key part of the company's plan to grow its production from U.S. resources plays by an average of 25% through 2017.

Marathon Oil is joined in Oklahoma by top Bakken Shale operator Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) . It, too, is ramping up its activity in the state. This year, the company plans to spend about a quarter of its capital budget to grow its rig count by 80% in the state. One of the reasons Continental Resources is spending more money is its past success in the state. Last year, the company grew its proven reserves in the SCOOP by 241%. Those reserves are a key to the company's ability to continue to grow its production in the future, and one of the main reasons it's drawn to Oklahoma.


Photo credit: Newfield Exploration Co. 

STACKing up growth
Oklahoma's oil potential isn't just drawing the attention of large oil companies such as Marathon Oil and Continental Resources. It's potential is compelling enough that smaller exploration companies such as Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX  ) are flocking there as well.

Newfield Exploration is even shedding some of its international assets in order to focus more of its attention on Oklahoma. While investors didn't like the company's most recent Oklahoma-fueled guidance, it's really stacked with potential. That's because it recently discovered what it's calling the STACK play in the state, which is a multi-layer resource play that included the Upper Meramec layer and the Woodford Shale below.

The company believes it can double its production in the state this year. Further, Newfield Exploration believes its compound annual growth rate from its base rate in 2012 through 2016 will average 80%. Overall, the company sees more than a decade of drilling potential in the state, which is why it's exiting its international operations to focus the bulk of its growth on Oklahoma.

Investor takeaway
Everything is bigger in Texas, and North Dakota has the Bakken Shale, but Oklahoma has a very compelling oil rich resources base of its own. Its SCOOP and STACK plays are causing oil producers to flock to the state. Not only is it causing many oil companies to shed international operations, but it's also bringing our dreams of becoming independent from OPEC closer to reality.

One company that causes OPEC sleepless nights
New oil resources in Oklahoma aren't OPEC's only worry. Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000 per hour. (That's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!) And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. In an exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report, we reveal the company we're calling OPEC's Worst Nightmare. Just click here to uncover the name of this industry-leading stock, and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable landslide of profits!

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Matt DiLallo

Matthew is a Senior Energy and Materials Specialist with The Motley Fool. He graduated from the Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Business Administration. You can follow him on Twitter for the latest news and analysis of the energy and materials industries:

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