Stronger Reporting Regulations for Oil, Gas Programs Discussed / by Securities Commission

Article excerpt

Reporting requirements for all oil and gas investment programs might lead to greater public confidence in the oil and gas industry, Joe B. McMillin Jr., vice-chairman of the Oklahoma Securities Commission, said Thursday.

At a meeting of the commission, McMillin spoke forcefully in favor of stronger accountability for operators of oil and gas investment programs.

"I just think the oil and gas industry needs somebody to regulate them" in terms of securities offerings, he said.

"They won't regulate themselves. There's been a lot of people swindled," McMillan added. "Legitimate operators should want some kind of regulation to keep those swindlers out."

"The petroleum industry is the only industry that has not come into 1970s business practices," he said. "If they were in the banking or retail industries, they'd be thrown out in a minute.

"The oil and gas industry has a terrible black eye," McMillan continued, "and I think it's something that should be pursued. They have a worse reputation in the state than they have outside of thestate, because we see it all."

Oklahoma Securities Department Administrator Raymond Patton said that a requirement for operators of oil and gas programs to report their existence to a state entity would help to determine the amount of money being invested in Oklahoma.

"In terms of statistical data, it would be nice to have notice of all investment transactions," Patton said. "They could file with the Economic Development Department - they don't have to do it here.

"It would be helpful to know Oklahoma's economic condition," he said, "and right now we don't have the statistics to do it."

Currently, regulation D offerings - those private placements registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission - are reported to the Oklahoma Department of Securities, Patton said.

Private oil and gas offerings involving 25 or fewer investors and fractional interest oil and gas sales are not reported, he said.

"I'm really concerned with how much is being invested in Oklahoma to help our economic development," Patton said.

Patton added that although the amount of unregistered investment offerings in Oklahoma is sizeable, it would be difficult to implement such a reporting requirement. …