With the merger of Williams and Energy Transfer officially dead, company officials aren't saying much, but city leaders in Tulsa are saying a lot - about how happy they are that the merger is over and how devastating it would have been if the merger had gone forward.
Jeff Dunn with the Tulsa Chamber said, “It's a great day for Tulsa and great day for Williams, and now it’s time that we the Chamber, the Tulsa region, the business community, assist Williams in focus on Williams operation, Williams business, and what's made Williams such a great success over the last decades, and that's their people.”
Williams has about 900 employees in Tulsa. The Chamber estimates the average salary at $130,000 annually, creating almost a billion dollars of spending in Tulsa that wouldn't be here otherwise.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett remembered when blocks of downtown buildings were in decline and Williams stepped in.
“They were all slated to be destroyed. The downtown wouldn't be what it is today if Williams hadn't made the corporate decision to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to make this downtown relevant,” he said.
Williams said the company would now refocus its energy on the business, while going after damages from ETE - the company that attempted to buy it and then backed out.
The Chamber said the potential loss would have hit everyone in the Tulsa.
“Every philanthropic, every charitable organization in this community, Williams people and their company are heavily engaged in. So the philanthropy, the volunteerism that would disappear, if a Williams and their employees disappeared, would have untold impacts on this community,” Chamber CEO Mike Neal said.
Those Williams employees support thousands of other jobs in Tulsa; by Chamber’s estimate, resulting in about $20 million in sales tax alone.
With the merger now over, community leaders in Tulsa want to do anything they can to make sure the company remains independent and remains in Tulsa.