Devon Energy Corp celebrates its ‘golden’ anniversary this month after 50 years of in the oil and gas industry. The company was founded by John and Larry Nichols in 1971 with no assets and five employees. By 1988, Devon would be publicly traded and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The journey has been a long one, but steeped in the founding principals of the Nichols' mission — Which is to be a results-oriented oil and gas company with a culture of health, safety and environmental stewardship.
That vision and mission remains a top priority for the company as they continue to foster an atmosphere of optimism, teamwork, creativity and resourcefulness — while providing area residents with employment and benefits that have challenged the status quo.
Devon continued to grow organically and through strategic acquisitions over the years, eventually settling into their place on the S&P 500 where today the company is among the leading producers of oil and gas in the United States.
“When we started, the vision was to build a U.S. oil and gas powerhouse,” Larry Nichols, Devon co-founder, said. “We were always looking for new technologies and modern ways to produce oil and gas — we wanted to be innovators, and I’m proud to say that I think that’s exactly what Devon has been to the industry over the years.”
For 50 years Devon has endured and prospered through volatile market cycles well known to residents of the Western Edge of North Dakota. The company throughout continued to deliver strong performances while finding novel approaches to adapt and innovate.
Devon’s historic achievements and milestones include being the first to successfully combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. The company developed this methodology while in the Barnett Shale of North Texas, which would quickly launch what would be known as the 'Shale Revolution' that would quickly grant access to oil and gas in regions across the U.S. that were long thought inaccessible. The results were one of the largest oil booms in the nation in the Bakken Shale, which helped not only lead the United States out of oil dependency, but into the leading oil producers in the world.
The company's Williston Basin operations are located entirely on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and consists of approximately 85,000 net acres. The company’s operations are focused in the oil-prone Bakken and Three Forks formations.
In addition to its many industry achievements and commitment to responsible energy development over the last five decades, Devon has been a major contributor and community partner in all its areas of operations — including contributions to Mountrail, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer and McLean counties.
For Devon, community and social service organizations take center stage in its community giving efforts. Over the years the company has partnered with organizations like the United Way, Boys and Girls Club, and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Backpack Program.
While the Oklahoma City-based company operates in North Dakota, it continues to support area communities where its employees live and work. Damian Paulson, superintendent of the Williston Basin, touted the company as one that has made lasting impacts in the lives of area communities.
“The company is already building local relationships that will make a lasting difference,” Paulson said. “Entering its second half-century, we are dedicated to getting to know the people in the area and working with them to make life better.”
In January 2021 Devon and WPX Energy merged as equals, but kept Devon’s name and headquarters in Oklahoma City.
As a result of the deal, WPX’s Rick Muncrief became President and CEO of Devon, and Devon’s Dave Hager became Executive Chairman on the Company’s board of directors.
Muncrief enters the position at a time of great transition in the industry with a vision of transforming the newly integrated company so that it will thrive for the next half century.
“Looking back at Devon’s last 50 years gives us a lot to be proud of,” Muncrief said. “I’m excited and humbled to lead the company into its next stage, and am confident that Devon’s culture of integrity, focus on forging strong relationships and acting courageously will continue yielding strong results for all of our stakeholders.”
Muncrief added, “Devon is a great company, and we intend to build on our past successes to carry on its legacy into the future.”