Tulsa's WPX Energy has announced plans to merge with Devon Energy, which means hundreds of local jobs will move to Oklahoma City.
In a press release, WPX Energy calls it "a merger of equals" and said it creates "a leading unconventional oil producer in the U.S." The deal includes WPX's new $100 million headquarters in downtown Tulsa that's still under construction.
WPX said it will complete the building and then sell it. As for their employees, some will move but some might lose their jobs.
"They are moving forward on the construction of that project, but who ultimately owns that building or the tenants, that's going to have to be worked out with the details of the merger," Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
Oklahoma City-based Devon is buying WPX and will fold it into their operations and their headquarters. It's uncertain how many of the approximately 350 employees will also make the move.
"Two solid companies, merging to become even stronger," University of Tulsa professor Tom Seng said. Send said the merger is ultimately the fallout from the pandemic that crushed oil consumption.
"They're staying in Oklahoma, that's a big deal," Seng said. "We could be reading today that WPX is heading to Texas or Devon is heading to Texas, instead they're staying here."
The Tulsa Chamber said it's optimistic there will be enough demand for downtown office space to fill the new building once it's done.
"It's going to be a prominent building in the skyline of Tulsa that might be filled with employees from companies that are here or companies we recruit here in the future," Mike Neal, CEO of Tulsa Chamber said.
WPX said the merger will be complete next spring, about the time their now unneeded headquarters building will finish its 11-story construction project.
The merger is a $2.5 billion deal that eliminates one of Tulsa's largest oil exploration companies. There are larger oil companies still in Tulsa in other aspects of the industry.