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Tulsa-Based SemGroup Sees New Life After Bankruptcy

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Norm Szydlowski has been the CEO for about a year. Norm Szydlowski has been the CEO for about a year.
SemGroup is located near 61st and Yale. SemGroup is located near 61st and Yale.
Former CEO Tom Kivisto addresses the media in 2008. [File photo] Former CEO Tom Kivisto addresses the media in 2008. [File photo]

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- One of Tulsa's largest companies says its dark days are behind and its best days are ahead.

SemGroup was at rock bottom two years ago when it filed for bankruptcy and let go hundreds of employees.

12/1/2009 Related Story: SemGroup Emerges From Chapter 11 Restructuring

Norm Szydlowski has been CEO of SemGroup for one year. His job when he was hired was to take the oil and gas company out from under the cloud of bankruptcy and turn it back into a leader in the industry.

"I look at us now and say we made a lot of progress, we are progressing very well," he said.

SemGroup has been out of bankruptcy for a little more than a year. The company fell from grace after citing more than $2 billion in losses and its former leaders and founders were accused of unauthorized trading.

12/9/2009 Related Story: New SemGroup CEO Says 'We Have Learned A Lot From Our Mistakes'

"I know we're very well protected from those kinds of issues in the past," Szydlowski said.

Szydlowski said a number of changes have been made to the company. For example, its now publicly traded and listed on the New York Stock Exchange; that means more transparency and access to more capital. Szydlowski also said a special organization has been formed within the company to monitor transactions and look for anything out of the ordinary.

One of the key differences between the old SemGroup LP new SemGroup Corp is the new company is less focused on trading. That left it vulnerable to the ever-changing ups and downs of the marketplace. Instead, three-fourths of its business is the storage and throughput of energy products.

"So it's a much more measured, much more stable, much more predictable business and profitability and cash flow kind of activity," Szydlowski said.

Today, SemGroup has 900 employees, about half pre-bankruptcy. It has 2,800 miles of pipelines, more than 18 million barrels of storage capacity and it's expanding its storage facilities in Cushing.

"We're in a great place at a great time," Szydlowski said. "There's a lot of things going on in oil and gas."

SemGroup just sold off another portion of the company this week by unloading SemCanada to a group in that country.

Szydlowski says its current size of 900 employees is about where it should be and they don't have plans to add more positions.

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