Oil and gas conference returns with heightened optimism

Visitors cite increased activity since last conference in 2016

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
  • The Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference is held every two years in Farmington.
  • Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett emphasized the importance of the industry to the local and regional economies.
  • Some visitors say technology companies are increasing their presence at energy industry conferences across the nation.
Visitors browse booths at the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference on Wednesday at McGee Park.

FARMINGTON — Representatives of several hundred companies, and individuals involved in the international and regional oil and gas industry gathered at McGee Park in Farmington Wednesday for the bi-annual Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference.

Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett welcomed attendees during opening remarks, encouraging companies and individuals to invest in the San Juan Basin and its communities, and emphasizing the importance of the industry to not only the region, but the national and international economy.

“We’ll just start this by making a bold statement that is: energy makes America great, right?,” Duckett said. “Energy makes San Juan County great. … This building, this facility wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your companies (and) the employees who decided to make roots here in our area and invest in our communities, so thank you for what your companies do.”

The conference brings in companies from around the nation and the globe. Jeff King of DFT Valves traveled from Exton, Pennsylvania, to take part in the conference for the second time. He said he has noticed a change in the business environment in the Four Corners region since his last visit in 2016.

“When I was here two years ago, it looked pretty depressing, but now, it was visibly noticeable when we pulled through town (Tuesday) night that things were good here again, which I’m happy to see,” King said.

Ben Green, a Dallas representative of a Munich-based industrial automation company called Siemens, said that activity was translating into interest at his booth during the conference.

“There’s a lot of curiosity,” Green said. “A lot of people are asking questions. They’re seeing new technologies. … People in general are inquisitive. They want to see what’s out there, and they’re looking to see how new technologies can make their lives easier.”

Lee Bearden of Elite San Juan participates in a mini-golf challenge while Trish Cordell watches at a booth for Farmington-based Advertising Ideas during the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference on Wednesday at McGee Park.

Ryan VanRyper of Vinson Process Controls, a 20-year Farmington resident who has attended the past 10 conferences, said he noticed automation, software and technology companies have been making more of a presence at each conference.

“Some of the (technology used in oil fields) is 20 years old, so we’re on the cusp of some big changes, I think, in technology and the way things are done — measured, controlled, all of that,” VanRyper said.

The conference is hosted every other year by a coalition of local groups, including the Desk and Derrick Club of Farmington, the Sandia Mountain Section of NACE International, the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, and the Four Corners chapters of the American Petroleum Institute, the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

More information is available at See the June edition of Energy Magazine for more coverage of the conference.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or