John Byrom to talk oil and gas at college

James Fenton
DJ Simmons President and CEO John Bryom has announced his plans to step down as head of the company.

FARMINGTON — DJ Simmons CEO John Byrom will speak Thursday evening about the history of the San Juan Basin and speculate on what the future holds for the oil and gas industry here and the local economy that depends on it.

Byrom's talk at the college's Little Theater on Thursday evening is part of the Broadening Horizons speaker series sponsored by Citizens Bank,  KSJE Radio and the San Juan College Foundation. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Byrom will chart the boom and bust cycle of the basin, the technological innovations like horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing that has transformed the industry in recent years and then offer his thoughts on what the oil and gas companies in the area must do to weather the challenges of slumping oil and natural gas commodities prices.

"Going forward we have to realize we have to be competitive," Byrom said in a Monday phone interview. "Eventually the price (of natural gas and crude oil) has to recover. It will recover. As long as we can be competitive, that will be the way through."

Byrom said that while oil and gas companies must trim operating costs, applying the latest technologies will be key to surviving the current downturn.

Adding to the pain are looming federal regulations for the industry, which will require that companies find innovative ways to ease the cost of implementation, he said.

"We need to be really smart with complying with these rules," he said. "We're like a boat in the water right now. We’re taking on water and these regulations are one wave after another coming down. And we're hoping they don’t sink us. We cannot expect any miracles. We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best."

With DJ Simmons since 1994 and its president and CEO since 2001, Byrom oversees partner development, capital projects and strategic planning at DJ Simmons. He also is responsible for oversight of Twin Stars, a natural gas compressor company.  He has experience in acquisition analysis and negotiations and is versed in local, state and federal government relations, according to the company's website.

Byrom is currently board president of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico and has served on boards for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Western Energy Alliance and the Farmington Chamber of Commerce. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Gayle Dean, executive director of the college foundation, said the free lecture series is an opportunity to have a variety of people share their expertise with the college and the community.

The series has brought astronauts, a code talker, finance experts, authors, archaeologists, medical researchers, and Sylvia Nasar, author of "A Beautiful Mind," among others.

"We really want this to be a community event that has a broad outreach," Dean said. "That's why we make it so diverse. We encourage our students to attend."

Dean said she is looking forward to Byrom's speech and added that the general public is welcome.

"This is is going to be a history of our basin — the San Juan Basin — and looking forward to how our economy and businesses are impacted by it," she said. "It will be of interest to all of us who live here. The oil and gas industry affects every single one of us. I think Byrom is an expert in this field."

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

If you go

What: Citizens Bank Broadening Horizons Lecture by John Byrom

Where: San Juan College, Little Theater (in the Central Classroom Complex), 4601 College Blvd., Farmington

When:  7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4

Cost: Free

More info: Call the San Juan College Box Office at 505-566-3430