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FARMINGTON – New Mexico Oil and Gas Association President Steve Henke announced on Friday that he plans to retire Sept. 1.

Henke has served as the oil and gas industry group's leader for six years. He led the Santa Fe-based association through numerous legislative, political and strategic challenges, according to a press release.

The combination of low crude oil and natural gas prices on the commodities market, along with pending federal regulations, has made for challenging times for the industry and the group, according to the release.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve an industry that means so much to our country and our state,” Henke said in the release.

Henke was credited by the industry group's board of directors for executing a "strategic plan that expanded (NMOGA’s) capabilities in fulfilling its mission of promoting the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources in New Mexico through advocacy, collaboration and education," according to the release.

NMOGA Chairman Cliff Brunson said the group has begun a national search for Henke’s successor, with the intention of having someone in place by Henke's departure in September.

“Steve did a tremendous job of developing strong relationships within New Mexico, and he has provided outstanding leadership during his time as president,” Brunson said in the release.

Before leading NMOGA, Henke was the head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Farmington field office. His hiring by NMOGA drew complaints from environmental groups that questioned whether Henke's BLM tenure was overly influenced by the industry it oversees.

NMOGA has 300 member companies, including producers, gatherers and processors, pipeline companies and service companies, according to Wally Drangmeister, NMOGA spokesman.

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