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Tulsa-based Samson Investment Co. marks its 40th year

The Tulsa-based company operates more than 4,000 wells.

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Tulsa-based Samson Investment Co. marks its 40th year

CEO Stacy Schusterman: Samson is now the largest privately held oil and gas firm in the United States, the founder's daughter says.

Samson Investment Co. celebrated its 40th year this week amid tremendous growth and perhaps an uncertain future.

The Tulsa-based Samson was founded in 1971 by the late Charles Schusterman. He built the company up through a few acquisitions and development of marginal producing properties.

Now Samson employs 1,200 people and operates more than 4,000 wells in the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. The capital expenditure budget is planned at more than $1 billion annually.

"It has been an amazing 40 years for Samson - from humble beginnings to now being the largest privately held oil and gas company in the United States," said Stacy Schusterman, Samson CEO and the founder's daughter.

Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal noted that Tulsa is known for successful business families that have maintained strong corporate and charitable ties locally.

"As leader of the Samson Investment Company, Stacy Schusterman has added her own chapter in the family's history book by growing the corporation into a successful, self-sustaining energy powerhouse," Neal said. "However, much credit is also due to a talented employee group with a strong work ethic."

Samson may or may not exist as an independent entity in the near future, although company officials have vowed to maintain its Tulsa presence. New York equity firm KKR & Co. was granted exclusive rights to talk with Samson about a potential sale of parts or all of the company, according to reports. KKR, or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, was co-founded by Tulsa native Henry Kravis.

Earlier this year, Samson began looking at options from an outright sale to a joint venture to an initial public offering. Analysts estimated any deal buying Samson as worth up to $10 billion.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said he didn't have any information regarding Samson's talks with KKR but believed the Tulsa firm was looking for a joint-venture partner in the Bakken Shale play of North Dakota. The unconventional shale plays have drawn lots of industry interest but are expensive drilling projects.

Samson has not commented lately on the KKR negotiations. Stacy Schusterman has vowed that Samson is committed to maintaining its workforce and operations in Tulsa and elsewhere, according to a Nov. 1 statement.

"If a definitive agreement is reached with KKR, it will be because they recognize both the value of our assets and our team," Schusterman said at the time. "KKR has stated that if we move forward, they are committed to building our team at each of our current locations."

Samson officials instead focused on the anniversary celebration held Thursday. The company has much to laud, considering its growth from a small production firm to a pre-eminent private oil and gas giant.

Charles Schusterman and his brother, Dan, founded the S&S Pipe and Supply Co. in Tulsa 50 years ago. A decade later, he bought some Amerada Hess properties in California and created Samson Resource Co. to hold those.

By the mid 1970s Samson drilled its first well, the Johnson Gas Unit, in Woods County, Okla. The first international play was in Alberta, Canada, 22 years ago.

Schusterman not only grew his business but also contributed millions to Jewish causes and other philanthropic organizations. He died in 2000.

"The Schusterman family is a legacy in Tulsa and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has had untold impact on the quality of life for citizens in our region," Neal said. "Their generosity is what makes Tulsa one of the most philanthropic communities in the nation."

Samson Investment Co.

Founded: 1971

Drilling Reach: 4,000 wells in 18 states and Gulf of Mexico

Interests: More than 12,500 producing properties

Capital Expenditures: At least $1 billion annually

Employees: 1,200 (700 in Tulsa)

Offices: Tulsa (headquarters), Denver, Houston and Midland, Texas

Source: Samson

Rod Walton 918-581-8457 SUBHEAD: The Tulsa-based company operates more than 4,000 wells.

Original Print Headline: Samson celebrates its 40th year


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