WPX Energy merging with Devon Energy in Oklahoma City

TULSA, Okla. — WPX Energy announced Monday its plans to merge with Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy.

The all-stock merger of equals transaction is meant to create a leading unconventional oil producer in the U.S., with an asset base underpinned by a premium acreage position in the economic core of the Delaware Basin, according to WPX.

The combined company will keep the Devon Energy name and be headquartered in Oklahoma City.

“This merger is a transformational event for Devon and WPX as we unite our complementary assets, operating capabilities and proven management teams to maximize our business in today’s environment, while positioning our combined company to create value for years to come,” said Dave Hager, Devon’s president and CEO.

“This merger-of-equals strengthens our confidence that we will achieve all of our five-year targets outlined in late 2019,” said Rick Muncrief, WPX’s chairman and CEO.

State and Tulsa city leaders announced in 2019 that WPX would be building a new $100 million headquarters in the historic Greenwood District providing over 400 jobs in 2022.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum released a statement Monday morning in response to the merger and changes to the plan for that building.

“The realities of global energy markets necessitate moves like the one announced today. Earlier this year, WPX’s decision to remain and invest in Tulsa was based upon their recognition of the value their employees bring to the company’s overall success. WPX recognized that it was human capital that drove success and laid the foundation for growth. As a city, we remain committed to working with the new leadership team to ensure Tulsans continue to play a critical role in shaping the success of the merged company, and that those displaced by today’s announcement are able to quickly transition and continue their contributions to the growth of Tulsa’s economy. Further, we are already working aggressively to ensure one of Downtown’s most transformational projects continues moving forward and new tenants are identified.”

—  Mayor G.T. Bynum

Bynum says WPX Energy Company will not leave “an unfinished hole” in Tulsa’s Arts District where current construction of what was supposed to be the company’s headquarters is already underway.

That meant WPX no longer needs its 12-story tower set to be completed next year that sits just east of the Guthrie Green.

Bynum said he was assured by WPX leadership that the company would complete the project, but there was no certainty over who would move into the building once it was done and if there could be modifications to the building at this stage of construction to reduce costs or the size of the building so WPX can be done with the project sooner.

The mayor said after his weekly COVID-19 news conference that he was disappointed to see 400 jobs be moved to Oklahoma City, but he understood the turmoil the oil and gas industry is in and was happy to see the jobs stay in Oklahoma as opposed to moving to Texas.

WPX began as part of The Williams Cos. before becoming one of the region’s major employers.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber says it will support the new company in its ongoing change.

“Energy companies have been fundamental to the Tulsa region’s economy for more than a century. Despite the recent challenges faced by the energy industry, this sector continues to be essential for both our region and our state. Since its earliest beginnings as part of The Williams Cos., WPX Energy has developed into one of our region’s strongest employers and most dedicated corporate citizens. We at the Tulsa Regional Chamber are especially grateful to WPX CEO Rick Muncrief for his board leadership and commitment to bettering our community. We look forward to working with the leadership teams of both WPX and Devon Energy to support them during this transition.”

—  Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber

Ryan Love, FOX23 News

Ryan Love is a Digital Content Producer for FOX23 News in Tulsa. A Detroit area native, Ryan joined FOX23 in June 2018 after graduating from Wayne State University with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Ryan handles day-to-day digital content and social media strategy for the station.