This is a blog post that will probably make the marketing department at Continental Resources, here in Oklahoma City, happy. This afternoon as I drove my 13 year old to a theater for an evening performance, she asked, “What is horizontal drilling?” The ads by Continental like the billboard in the photo below are apparently working to spark consumer curiosity.

These ads attempt to educate the public by equating horizontal drilling with societal innovations like the light bulb and the Internet. I would have a more positive view of this marketing hyperbole if our current oil-based gold rush was having a positive influence on the provision of important state services like public education, prison funding, department of human services funding, etc. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

If you don’t live in Oklahoma, I’m guessing you don’t have highway billboards like this evangelizing the professed blessings of horizontal drilling. Is this perception on target?

I’m glad Sarah and I had an opportunity to not only discuss what horizontal drilling is tonight, but also the powerful influence of the Oklahoma oil and gas lobby on our state politics and budget. But-for that roadside billboard, I don’t think we would have had that talk tonight.

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