Oklahoma oil and gas

Oil pumps and hay bales in rural Oklahoma.

(The Center Square) – The coronavirus pandemic brought slowdowns and shutdowns to Oklahoma's energy industry, but 18 months later, business is returning to stable ground.

"What's really getting very busy is the service sector, the demand for services to maintain existing oil and gas wells," Dewey Bartlett, president of Keener Oil and Gas Company, told The Center Square. "During the last few years, when prices were extremely low, a lot of maintenance on wells was deferred, it didn't make sense to do it. Now the demand for services to fix things is really high."

Success in the energy sector equals a positive jobs outlook.

"It certainly helps create jobs," Bartlett said, "Again, the demand not only for the service sector, but also because companies are willing to put wells back onto production, hook up wells that have been shut down for a period of time, leads to a demand for new people to do a variety of things for a variety of wages."

Bartlett said that getting wells back up that hadn't been producing for a while will also provide increased revenues, which is also good for the state of Oklahoma. Benefits are also coming to royalty owners that own mineral rights in the wells that are now being put back online.

"I think the future is going to be very good for the industry, but so much of it depends upon the administration, if they're going to be successful in trying to slow down, and in many cases, eliminate the production of oil and natural gas," Bartlett said. "If they get realistic, then the future looks very good for the industry, certainly for the next several years."

Bartlett said there is a demand for oil and gas products, and as more entities plan to rely on alternative energy sources for electricity, such as solar and wind and hydro, contingency plans will have to be made that rely on the consumption of natural gas as a backup.