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Oklahoma State University

Oil and gas finance experts visit OSU to give students a glimpse of working in the industry

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Betty Simkins (second from right), interim head of the Department of Finance, hosts oil and gas experts as they visit her energy finance class to share the various career opportunities in oil and gas finance. Guest speakers (from left) Curt Jennings, senior marketing representative, Rose Rock Midstream; Ashley Tucker, Business Development – Project Origination, Blueknight Energy Partners, Clint Duty, vice president, engineering and operations, Targa Resources, and Jeff Oliver, president of Firefly Energy Services.

Four oil and gas finance experts recently visited Oklahoma State University to share their experiences with students to assist them in preparing for careers in the industry.

“We strive to bridge the ‘theory/practice’ gap. It is crucial for students to interact with industry professionals to overcome this gap,” said Betty Simkins, professor and interim head of the Department of Finance in the OSU Spears School Business.

The group shared that Oklahoma is one of the country’s prime locations for oil and gas production not only because of the extensive infrastructure but it is home to numerous service providers, making oil and gas production three times more affordable than most other states in the United States.

Guest speakers and their topics were:

  • Clint Duty, vice president, engineering and operations, Targa Resources, who spoke about processes and the value chain of resources;
  • Curt Jennings, senior marketing representative, Rose Rock Midstream, and economics and horticulture graduate from OSU, who spoke about the crude oil from the well to Cushing;
  • Jeff Oliver, president of Firefly Energy Services, who spoke about the basics of oil and gas, and
  • Ashley Tucker, Business Development – Project Origination, Blueknight Energy Partners, who spoke about project valuation. Tucker earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from OSU.

“We want to express how important the oil and gas industry is Oklahoma as one of the top three producers in the U.S.,” said Oliver.

“The amazing panel of energy industry guest speakers brought the real world into our classroom and we got a glimpse of the crucial roles they provide in the oil and gas industry,” said Simkins.

“I enjoyed being able to ask members working in the industry about how they feel the energy market is projected to change in the next 20 to 30 years,” said Conner McCartan, senior finance student. “I enjoyed learning about the types of programs that are currently being used to estimate costs and prices within the industry, discovering that Monte Carlo simulations are rarely used was very surprising.”

“My favorite part was probably hearing Ashley Tucker speak about project valuation and how she incorporates things outside of the specific scope of the project into her analysis,” said Claudio Ferrer, a junior economics and finance major. “I also enjoyed Curt Jennings’ presentation of all the steps from a well site to the Cushing gate.”

“The most interesting part of the presentations today is the description of the shale play economics, which was presented by Jeff Oliver,” said Natarianto Indrawan, OSU doctoral candidate in the Environmental Science Graduate program. “Also, the midstream business in term of challenges and transportation cost, delivered by Curt Jennings. The project valuation presented by Ashley Tucker was also interesting, a practical approach of doing project calculation. The last speaker Clint Duty presented about the natural gas processing was also interesting.”

“By hearing the guest speakers the students realize how important their education is in preparing them for successful careers,” said Simkins.

“Academia is known for its theoretical approach while the industry operates in the real-world. This potentially creates a gap between what we teach in the classroom and how it applies to the real world practice. My teaching philosophy strives to overcome this gap by bringing the two ends of the spectrum closer together,” said Simkins.

For more information about the Spears School of Business Department of Finance, contact Simkins at 405-744-8625 or

Related article: OSU finance professor (Betty Simkins) becomes first woman to speak at Saudi university business school

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