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Energy Index Recovery Ramps Up at Year End

After a year of modest recovery in the oil and natural gas industry, the Oklahoma Energy Index closed the year with a significant increase.

The most recent Energy Index increased by 2.4 percent, marking the strongest monthly gain of 2017. Using data collected in November, the Energy Index stands at 179.0, a 14.1 percent increase from one year ago levels.

“Producers appear to be more confident heading into 2018 resulting in an increase of leasing and drilling activity,” said Charlie Crouse, managing director of energy lending for Bank SNB. “If the bullish trend in oil prices continues, it should lead to improved cash flows and stronger balance sheets for companies operating in Oklahoma, which hopefully translate into additional hiring and economic activity in the state.”

November gains were highlighted by increased employment in both the production and support sectors of the industry, with the addition of 1,900 new workers to Oklahoma’s oilfields. Dr. Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute, said industry employment is approaching year-end 2015 levels and is expected to experience continued growth in 2108.

Crude oil and natural gas spot prices also posted gains in November with crude oil prices continuing strong in early December and natural gas prices expected to gain more traction following the blast of frigid weather across much of the United States.

“As 2017 comes to an end, oil and natural gas industry activity has lead a year of economic recovery in the state,” Evans said. “The oil and natural gas industry has grown modestly throughout 2017, but significant end-of-year gains point to a solid economic footing for the state entering 2018.”

The Energy Index is a comprehensive measure of the state’s oil and natural gas production economy established to track industry growth rates and cycles in one of the country’s most active and vibrant energy-producing states. The OEI is a joint project of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA), Bank SNB and the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute.

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Cody Bannister
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