Sept. 30–Editor’s note: This article and many others about the energy industries are featured in the Current-Argus’ quarterly Energy magazine. Pick up a copy at the Current-Argus, 620 S. Main Street or view it online at currentargus.com.
Oil and gas industry leaders and local officials touted the Carlsbad Mayor’s Energy Summit as a “success across the board.”
The annual event, in its sixth year, brought executives and policy makers to the city for a day of speeches and discussion about the industry and the recent oil boom in southeast New Mexico and the Permian Basin.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the event received positive feedback from those in attendance, including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
In total, about 1,000 people participated in the summit, Janway said.
“We’ve received overwhelming positive feedback, with many people telling us that this was the best summit we’ve ever had,” he said. “All of our speakers were interesting and informative.”
Janway said the event solidified Carlsbad’s position at the forefront of the oil boom and domestic extraction industry.
He said the speakers spoke on a variety of topics, but were unified in their belief that community support is for New Mexico’s oil and gas expansion.
“While we had a wide variety of speakers, their messages had a great deal of common ground — they spoke about safety, about community involvement and about the expected continued growth of the energy industry in this region,” Janway said.
“The overall message was very clear, and Carlsbad is honored to be a part of the epicenter of energy independence.”
In his speech to attendees Ryan Flynn, executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) said communities such as Carlsbad are instrumental to New Mexico’s position as an oil and gas leader on the national — and global — level.
“It’s not an understatement to call New Mexico an epicenter of energy production,” Flynn said. “You have energy leaders who are talking about New Mexico on the global scale. We have more rigs in New Mexico than we ever have. We don’t just expect this growth to continue next year, but for the next five years. This is sustained growth.”
In 2017, Flynn said the industry broke numerous records for production and revenue brought into the State of New Mexico.
He was optimistic about the expansion continuing.
“2018 is going to be another record year. We are now the third largest oil producer in the United States,” Flynn said. “If you step back and look at that, we’re a state that is usually at the bottom. But energy is not something we’re good at, it’s something we’re great at.”
NMOGA spokesman Robert McEntyre said optimism for the state’s future in oil and gas was obvious from the summit, and the industry leaders who took part.
He pointed to Sarah Ortwein, president of XTO Energy — one of the Permian Basin’s biggest operators, as a sign that the industry at large is placing high value on southeast New Mexico.
“When you have an event that attracts the caliber of the speakers that (the summit) did, that really underscores the place that Carlsbad has in the industry,” McEntyre said. “It was very much affirming of Carlsbad’s place in the epicenter of the industry.”
During her talk Ortwein commended the Carlsbad community for its support of the industry.
XTO recently leased 250,000 acres in Eddy and Lea counties for extraction operations, she said, and doubled its operations in the Midland Basin of West Texas.
About half of XTO’s drilling rigs are in the Permian, Ortwein said.
She said community support and consent is crucial to continuing the growth.
“Carlsbad is my kind of town,” Ortwein said. “You’re really blessed as a city with abundant natural resources. But your best resource is the people. We’re very happy to be in a community that will band together. The positive community reception clearly sets this community apart.”
The Permian Basin, which contains the Delaware Basin to the east in New Mexico and the Midland Basin near Odessa and Midland, Texas is the world’s most attractive oil play, she said.
“Our current focus is right here in the Permian Basin,” she said. “It’s clearly the most exciting oil play in the country and I would argue in the world.”
McEntyre said the summit not only served the industry by generating excitement for economic growth, but by allowing stakeholders to come together for a conversation on the policies needed to sustain the boom.
The summit also provided an opportunity, he said, for private industry to seek out ways to invest in the community.
“Eddy County has long been a leader in demonstrating the benefits of a favorable business climate,” he said. “There’s real value in bringing everyone together under one roof. It’s one thing to talk about housing, but it’s another thing to bring people in that can invest in these issues.
“We can craft policy, and address issues that arise. There is a sense across the industry that Carlsbad is a place where we need to continue to invest and make improvements.”
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, email@example.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.
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