Monday, July 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Speeches at This Week’s COGA Meeting

Reported by Art Mass (Heartland Energy)

In the face of an industry slump that could continue for another three or four years according to some experts, Governor Ritter labels natural gas “a mission-critical fuel.”

Speaking at this week’s Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference in Denver, the Governor told the crowd of industry officials that natural gas production is crucial as the country seeks more energy independence and wrestles with climate change.

COGA has been a major critic of the Ritter administration’s push for stricter oil and gas regs — now law in Colorado — as well as feeling as though their multibillion dollar industry was getting shortchanged by the Governor in his quest to promote the new energy economy.

In his talk on Thursday, the Governor stressed the importance of Colorado natural gas as a key component of the new energy economy. After his pep talk to what had to be a skeptical audience, COGA spokesman Nate Strauch said the industry was encouraged by Ritter’s speech.


Delivering the keynote address at a crowded luncheon meeting during the same industry gathering a day earlier, former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth dressed down the natural gas industry.

Wirth enthusiastically exhorted the natural-gas industry to get better organized and get to Washington and lobby for its interests. The former Colorado senator now serves as president of the nonprofit United Nations Foundation, a charity created by Ted Turner in 1998.

Wirth told the gathering that, in his opinion, global warming was undeniable and it was pervasive. He said the world is headed for disaster, and it’s in everyone’s interest to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Natural gas should be the bridge to the future, said Wirth, but the industry was completely missing from the recent debate in the House of Representatives on the Waxman-Markey energy bill. Other groups, including coal producers, utilities, automotive manufacturers and solar and wind-energy Colorado providers, wangled special provisions or shaped terms of various programs contained in the proposed legislation.

“Every major industry was deeply engaged except for the natural-gas industry,” he said. “The natural-gas industry needs to get organized. It can lead the country toward a better economic and environmental future.”

1 comment:

  1. Other reports make it clear that Wirth's message was taken to heart -

    “This industry was completely absent [from Waxman-Markey],” said Fred Julander, chairman of the COGA conference and president of Denver’s Julander Energy Co.

    “We’re way too late to the dance, unless we could pull off something quickly,” he said. “Because I’m an optimist, I think we can do it. It would be best for us and our shareholders. Our shareholders need the leaders who will grasp this opportunity.”

    Peter Dea, a long-time Denver oil and gas executive and president and CEO of private Cirque Resources LP in Denver, said industry members realize the need to be involved in the U.S. Senate’s bill.

    “The natural gas industry missed a great opportunity to be engaged and contribute to parts of the Waxman-Markey bill,” Dea said. “We need to focus on the Senate, having learned a hard lesson in not focusing on the House.”

    In a video excerpt (below) from his speech, Wirth tells it like it is - there was no push back from the natural gas industry. In contrast, Rep Boucher and his coal state allies negotiated for one concession after another.