- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A wave of retirements is expected in Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry, which for more than a decade has been trying to address a 20-year employment gap.

The 1980s oil bust erased tens of thousands of jobs and led college students to avoid oil-related jobs. That changed about 10 years ago when high energy prices combined with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to revive the industry and lead a new generation of college graduates to the oil patch.

Now, many executives and managers who have been in the business since the 1970s and 1980s are nearing retirement, The Oklahoman reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1msuFGc ).

Landman Will Reagan retired on Thursday as president of Reagan Resources after more than 35 years in the oil and natural gas business.

“The real trigger is the changing face of the industry,” Reagan, 68, said on why he is retiring now. “I took the better part of the past year in working with the cream of the crop and have taken them to the place where they can move the company forward and grow.”

The company also recently completed an upgrade to a new GPS database system designed to make it more efficient and effective.

“The database allows us to centrally operate our business and have satellite offices in some of the major oil and gas reservoirs in the United States,” Reagan said. “We anticipate we can expand our operations as oil and gas prices improve.”

Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association, said the turnover could help modernize the industry as younger leaders move to data-driven systems to reduce inefficiencies.

“That mindset from some younger workers who are more data-driven, more empirical, less intuitive is probably the prevalent mindset and the way companies will be run in the future,” he said.

“We’ll probably continue to see the inefficiencies wrung out of the system,” Warmington said. “That’s particularly more important now because these wells are such large endeavors. It’s not as easy to be a wildcatter on an $8 million to $12 million well.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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