ENERGY: Event lauds years of energy production

James Fenton

FARMINGTON — The 13th Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference next month will spotlight new technologies and pending environmental regulations that affect the oil and gas industry.

The conference will also celebrate 95 years of oil and and gas operations in the San Juan Basin, according to conference organizers.

Held over two days on May 11 and 12 at McGee Park, the conference will have more than 200 exhibition booths inside and outside the event. About two dozen speakers will deliver talks on topics that include vapor recovery technology, pending federal regulations that apply to the oil and gas operations, how to set up safety training policies, marketing, pipeline safety, flare gas capture technology, crude oil measurement,corrosion reduction technology and remote monitoring of well facilities.

WPX Energy's Ken McQueen, Marita Noon of the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy, Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, Kathleen Sgamma of Western Energy Alliance, School of Energy assistant professor Roger Tingley, state Land Office Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, state Oil Conservation Division director David Catanach and state Occupational Health and Safety Bureau Chief Robert Genoway are among the conference's  scheduled speakers.

Though it's being held in an industry downturn, Audra Winters, Farmington Chamber of Commerce president, said the conference, which is geared toward people in the industry, is going on as planned.

"We know that people have been laid off and that companies are struggling, and even when we started planning the conference, it wasn't at a high note," Winters said. "We are always going to have oil and gas, and it's always going to be a focus. (the conference) will address the issues that companies are facing right now."

The chamber is one of six sponsors of the event, which has been held on even-numbered years. The Four Corners Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Desk and Derrick Club, the Sandia Mountain Section of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers International and the Four Corners section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers are also sponsors of the event.

Conference coordinator Jan Tomko said the conference, which is not open to the general public, also offers people in the oil and gas industry a chance to get together and socialize.

"Companies locally and companies from out of the area will be coming to highlight their products and show what they do," Tomko said. "And they will do plenty of networking."

A reception after the first day's events at the park's High Desert Club will give conference guests a chance to mingle in an informal setting, she said.

On the second day of the conference, Durango, Colo.-based geologist Ashley Ager will present her findings on a decade's worth of research and data collection in the San Juan Basin that she said identifies Fruitland sources of atmospheric methane in the Four Corners area.

Ager is a senior geologist with LT Environmental, Inc., an Arvada, Colo-based environmental and engineering firm that contracts with the oil and gas industry,

She said she will address the ongoing study of methane sources that was prompted by a 2014 report by NASA and the University of Michigan using European satellite imagery captured between 2003 and 2009 showing a large "hot spot" over the Four Corners the size of the state of Delaware.

The San Juan Basin has for many years been the largest producer of natural gas in New Mexico and the second leading producer in the U.S.

"We spend most summers (taking readings of methane levels) doing pedestrian surveys using a methane flux meter to measure the rate of gas coming out of the ground," Ager said. "I'm going to present our data since 2007.It is to remind people that we do have a source of methane in this region. The main conclusion is that the Fruitland outcrop is a leading contributor to methane in the Four Corners region."

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For more information on the conference, go to fourcornersoilandgas.com or call 505-787-0322.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

History of the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference

♦  1994 First conference held with 62 exhibitors at the Farmington Civic Center

♦  1995 Second conference moved to San Juan College. 123 exhibitors

♦  1996 Third conference at college celebrated 75 years of oil and gas operations in the San Juan Basin

♦  1998 Fourth conference moved to McGee Park. Conference adopts even-year schedule.

♦  2000 Fifth conference

♦  2002 Sixth conference with 173 exhibitors. Farmington Chamber of Commerce takes over registration

♦  2004 Seventh conference with 190 exhibitors. Launch of official conference logo

♦  2006 Eighth conference with 186 exhibitors

♦  2008 Ninth conference with 247 exhibitors

♦  2010 Tenth conference with 290 exhibitors

♦  2012 Eleventh conference  with 281 exhibitors

♦  2014 Twelfth conference with 290 exhibitors