Via Casey Smith of Tulsa World:
Jericho Oil Corp. is thought of as a Vancouver company, president and CEO Allen Wilson said. But with the growth and acquisitions of the past year and a half, Tulsa is becoming Jericho’s main office.
The increased square footage supports the growth that Jericho has had in the state over the last 18 months, and it positions the company for expansions that will come with the deals it has planned.
“The focus of this company is Oklahoma,” Wilson said.
Most recently the company announced it was buying 31,200 acres and 62 operated well bores located in the Noble-Pawnee-Payne county region of central Oklahoma. The deal was the company’s fifth acquisition in Oklahoma in roughly a year and a half.
Jericho started looking at Oklahoma back in 2014. Growth in the state has been accelerated by the downturn in oil prices, Wilson said, which it feels creates a unique opportunity.
“No oil company wants a lower price, but you have to adapt and manage your way through these situations. This is an opportunity to buy production we haven’t seen in decades,” Wilson said.
“If you look at the historical price of oil, it’s basically been fairly positive since the early 2000s except for a blip in ‘08 when I think the whole world had a pause, but it wasn’t oil related. So this is I think a really good opportunity for Jericho to grow quickly.”
The company’s growth strategy is to focus on acquiring assets in a single region — primarily Oklahoma’s Woodford, Mississippi Lime and Hunton plays — that are either no longer core to previous owners’ corporate strategies or are quality assets in distressed capital structures.
The company will continue to focus on buying production as long as oil prices stay below $60 per barrel, said Brian Williamson, Jericho’s managing director of operations and acquisitions. Generally speaking, at those prices it is less expensive to buy existing production than it would be to drill, he said.
Jericho announced its first 1,850-acre acquisition in Oklahoma in March 2015. Two months later the company announced it was buying 2,500 acres from Chaparral Energy, and at the end of last year it closed deals on two separate acquisitions in central Oklahoma.
The most recently completed deal announced Aug. 8 included a field office in Morrison that has brought Jericho’s number of employees in Oklahoma up to 25, Wilson said. Nine of those people are in the Tulsa office, where they plan to hire four to five more by the end of the year. Jericho’s Vancouver office employs five.
Williamson said that one of the reasons that Jericho likes Tulsa is the high quality and experience of the city’s energy labor pool.
“It has a great oil history, great talent, good infrastructure for our business,” Williamson said.
Bill Harwell, director of the company’s land department, is one of the industry veterans that Jericho brought on board in Tulsa about a year ago.
Harwell said he’s been in the industry for more than 30 years and that he really enjoys the energy that comes with working with a growing company. He also enjoys the opportunity to help develop a corporate culture.
“That’s one of the things that we’re trying to do here is build a culture where people enjoy coming to work,” Harwell said. “It’s fun.”
Amber Burke, Jericho’s manager of land administration, has worked in the Tulsa office for a little less than a year and described her time at the company so far as exciting and fast paced. There’s also the opportunity — and necessity — for each employee to be able to take on all sorts of tasks rather than being pigeonholed in one area, she said.
“We’re fortunate enough to have a team that has experience doing multidisciplined tasks,” Burke said. “Our skill sets are pretty widespread.”