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The Fraser Institute: Oklahoma Ranked No. 1 Spot for Oil and Gas Investment Worldwide in New Global Survey


June 26, 2012 - Calgary, Alberta

Oklahoma is the best place on earth for oil and gas investment, according to international petroleum executives and managers who participated in the annual Global Petroleum Survey released today by the Fraser Institute, one of the world's leading free-market think-tanks.

The Sooner State jumped to No. 1 out of 147 jurisdictions included in the Global Petroleum Survey 2012 after ranking fourth (of 135) in 2011.

U.S. states dominated the top 10 rankings, with Mississippi finishing second (down from first last year), Texas third (up from fifth), North Dakota fourth (up from 10th), New Mexico seventh (huge leap from 41st), Kansas eighth (down from third), and West Virginia 10th (down from sixth).

"Through safe and sensible petroleum development, these states are paving the way for a prosperous future for Americans and their families, and creating jobs right now," said Gerry Angevine, Fraser Institute senior economist in the Global Resource Center and co-ordinator of the survey.

"Their tax, regulatory, and labor terms are clear, consistent, and competitive. They are in a great position to attract and reap economic benefits from petroleum investment, including the development of shale gas and tight oil resources through the application of hydraulic fracking technology."

Outside the United States, only the Canadian province of Manitoba (fifth), the Netherlands (sixth), and Denmark (ninth) were among the global top 10.

Ohio, which ranked second overall in 2011, fell out of the top 10 to 14th this year as a result of increased concerns about the cost of complying with state regulations, uncertainty over environmental regulations, and the interpretation and administration of regulations.

The Global Petroleum Survey is administered each year to petroleum industry executives to help measure and rank the barriers to investment of oil- and gas-producing regions. A total of 623 respondents representing 529 companies completed the survey questionnaire this year, providing sufficient data to evaluate 147 jurisdictions. The exploration and development budgets of participating companies account for more than 50 percent of the annual spending on petroleum exploration and production among international oil companies.

The survey shows that several U.S. states have improved their scores compared to last year. California jumped to 45th after ranking 91st, the lowest of any U.S. state, in 2011, with improved scores on questions pertaining to fiscal terms, taxation, labor availability, and regulatory issues.

Other large gainers include New Mexico, which vaulted to seventh from 41st; Colorado, which climbed to 16th from 53rd; and Pennsylvania, which jumped to 34th from 65th.

U.S. Offshore-Gulf of Mexico, which plummeted to 60th place last year in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, improved its score to 26th overall. Respondents indicated that they are now less concerned about regulatory duplication and uncertainty in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alaska and New York were the worst-ranked U.S. states at 61st and 68th, respectively.

Globally, the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions in this year's survey are: Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, North Dakota, Manitoba, Netherlands, New Mexico, Kansas, Denmark, and West Virginia.

The 10 least attractive jurisdictions are: Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Russia-Eastern Siberia, Libya, Ecuador, Uzbekistan, Argentina-Santa Cruz, Iraq, and Russia-other.

The political upheaval that occurred in the Middle East and North Africa during 2011, and which continues in some jurisdictions (such as Syria), appears to have discouraged survey respondents from investing in the Arab world. In the 2011 survey, Bahrain was viewed as the most attractive for oil and gas of all Arab states that were ranked except Qatar. But in this year's survey, Bahrain is seen as posing greater barriers to investment than Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, and Lebanon. The change in Bahrain's relative attractiveness, and that of some other Arab states that have been subject to unrest, is a reflection of increasing concerns over political stability and security in the region.

A relatively large share (25 percent or more) of respondents indicated that exploration and development activity in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Bolivia, Somaliland, Uruguay, Iran, Cyprus, Quebec, Libya, Brazil-Pre-salt Offshore, Nigeria, and New Brunswick would likely increase by more than 100 per cent if governments adopted "best practices." The survey respondents suggest that activity could potentially be boosted the most in Kazakhstan, Cambodia, India, Russia-other, Turkey, Iran, Albania, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, Venezuela, Ukraine, Vietnam, Nigeria, Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia-Eastern Siberia, Mozambique, and Guatemala.

"Investors say they will continue to turn away from jurisdictions with onerous fiscal regimes, political instability, land claim disputes, and corruption," Angevine said.

"Similarly, investors prefer to avoid jurisdictions with costly, time-consuming, and uncertain regulations."

The survey questionnaire sought the opinions of senior executives and managers on a range of issues, including royalties and other forms of petroleum production tax, taxation in general, the cost of regulatory compliance, trade and labor regulations, legal system fairness and transparency, and political stability, among others.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 80 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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Contacts:
Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Gerry Angevine
Senior Economist, Global Resource Center
(403) 216-7175 ext. 424 or Cell: (403) 703-4968
gerry.angevine@fraserinstitute.org

Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Fred McMahon
Vice-President of International Policy Research
(416) 363-6575 ext. 226
fred.mcmahon@fraserinstitute.org

Fraser Institute
Dean Pelkey
Director of Communications
(604) 714-4582
dean.pelkey@fraserinstitute.org
www.fraserinstitute.org

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