BOK Financial Corp. in Tulsa, Okla., has a long history of working with oil and natural gas producers; its chairman, George B. Kaiser, is an oilman himself.
Now $8.9 billion-asset BOK hopes to capitalize on that expertise by brokering deals between landowners and energy firms that are trying to tap new reserves of oil and gas.
To that end it has established a registry (at www.bokproperties.com) listing more than 2,000 unleased mineral tracts. After adding a property to the registry, BOK represents the owners by negotiating with energy producers seeking to obtain the oil and gas rights. It helps facilitate deals by gathering title information, obtaining insurance, and maintaining taxes on the subject properties.
Since starting the registry in June, BOK has brokered more than 200 leases and yielded millions of dollars in lease-bonus payments for clients, said David Smith, a vice president in the company's oil, gas, and real estate department. He cited good timing: The recent increase in energy prices has piqued interest in domestic production.
Mr. Smith wants the number of properties listed to reach 50,000 in three years.
Though the service produces little direct revenue for BOK, it should bring substantial indirect benefits - particularly in private banking. Mr. Smith sees clients on the registry investing their lease-bonus money at the bank.
"We think this will create a lot of satisfied and loyal customers," he said.
BOK's Private Financial Services division has $17.7 billion under management and had second-quarter income of $2 million.
Eric E. Rothmann, an analyst at First Security Van Kasper, said the registry is a good idea, because it promises to generate revenue without adding much to costs.
"It is not a massive undertaking," he said.
Mr. Smith said that many of the clients BOK has secured with the registry's help are eastern banks whose trust departments control properties in the Southwest.
"They do not have a lot of experience when it comes to oil and gas," he said. "We developed the Web site because we have that expertise."