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

By Matthew DiLallo - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:15PM

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Marathon Oil Corporation, Continental Resources, Inc., and Newfield Exploration Co. are among the companies spending heavily to tap Oklahoma’s oil resources.

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
(MRO 0.28%) 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 (CLR -0.57%). 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. (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.

Matt DiLallo and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Continental Resources, Inc. Stock Quote
Continental Resources, Inc.
$66.13 (-0.57%) $0.38
Newfield Exploration Company Stock Quote
Newfield Exploration Company
Marathon Oil Corporation Stock Quote
Marathon Oil Corporation
$21.83 (0.28%) $0.06

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