By ROD WALTON World Business Editor on Apr 21, 2013, at 2:03 AM Updated on 4/21 at 7:46 AMv
Tulsa will be a magnet for movers, shakers and Mensa-types from the energy industry this week.
The city is playing host to two major energy conferences. The DUG Midcontinent conference will be Monday through Wednesday at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, and the National Energy Policy Institute will use its University of Tulsa home base to spotlight its event Thursday on the campus.
Houston-based Hart Energy is putting on the DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) Midcontinent conference with a focus on the currently hot Mississippi Lime formation in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
The NEPI seminars will focus more on long-term policy goals to help the U.S. become more energy self-reliant and environmentally responsible.
Monday’s DUG Midcontinent is its first year in Tulsa.
“Tulsa is a hotbed for unconventional oil and gas production with the Mississippi Lime, and with Hart Energy being a leader covering unconventional resource activity and technology, attendees will be able to hear firsthand from the key players who are operating in this region,” Hart Energy CEO Rich Eichler said.
Interest in the Mississippi Lime has gone international, with Chinese and Spanish energy firms moving in alongside SandRidge, Midstates Petroleum and other more local players.
The NEPI conference is subtitled, “Building America’s Energy Future – A Portfolio of Promising Policies.” The George Kaiser Family Foundation seeded the NEPI concept several years ago, and it has remained focused on pushing for a coherent national energy policy since its beginning.
“Energy and our economy are inexorably tied together,” said NEPI President Tony Knowles, who was born and raised in Tulsa before becoming a two-term governor of Alaska. “Our challenge is can we associate the true cost of how we utilize energy in a way that settles the issues of national security, our economy and pollution.”
Knowles acknowledged that the post-Great Recession era has been relatively strong for oil and gas producers and even the environment. Production is up to decades-high levels due to the shale revolution employing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, while emissions and energy demand have fallen slightly.
“So what’s the problem?” Knowles quipped.
Actually, he believes the problem lies in American political leaders always putting off formation of a national energy policy which addresses production, efficiency and import issues altogether. Times are good right now, but it may not always be that way.
“We don’t address the underlying problems,” he said, noting dependency on oil from unstable nations and other dangers. “We know that’s going to be the problem with America. Of the 11 recessions since the post-war era, 10 of them were preceded by spikes in energy prices.”
NEPI’s speakers will include Knowles, author and researcher Charles Wohlforth, environmental consultant Anna Lee Deal, University of Nevada-Las Vegas economics professor Stephen Brown and a panel moderated by Hillard Huntington, executive director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University.
Registration for the NEPI conference is open until noon Monday, and the event is free to the public.
The DUG Midcontinent conference will begin with a reception 5 p.m. Monday. Tuesday’s roster will include Eagle Energy CEO Steve Antry, Midstates Petroleum CEO John Crum, Alta Mesa Holdings LP CEO Hal Chappelle, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy and Pierce Norton, executive vice president of commercial at ONEOK Inc. and ONEOK Partners LP.
Rob Johnston, who heads up Apache Corp.’s Tulsa office as central region vice president, will be Wednesday morning’s keynote speaker.
DUG’s advance registration is $795 and $895 onsite if seats remain.
Tulsa’s major energy conferences
What: Focus on Mississippi Lime, other prominent oil and gas formations
Where: Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center
Who: CEOs and other executives from Eagle Energy, Midstates Petroleum, Apache Corp., NewField Exploration Co. and Unit Corp.
Presented by: Hart EnergyBuilding America’s Energy Future: A Portfolio of Promising Policies
What: National Energy Policy Institute conference introducing new report and its authors and researchers
Where: Allen Chapman Activity Center’s Great Hall, TU
Who: Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, author Charles Wohlforth, Lynden Transportation environmental consultant Anna Lee Deal, UNLV economics professor Stephen Brown and project senior adviser Hillard Huntington of Stanford University
Presented by: National Energy Policy Institute
Rod Walton 918-581-8457