American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 97

ConventionSection: Colorado Oil & Gas Association

Colorado Oilmen Weather
Downturn, Opposition
By Dan Larson
Special Correspondent
DENVER-Colorado's oil and natural
gas industry is weathering the downturn
and will continue to face challenges from
groups opposed to oil development while
it also seeks to open new markets for its
expansive gas reserves, according to industry and association leaders.
Coming off this year's Rocky Mountain
Energy Summit (RMES), which was
called a "fantastic event with good energy
and an outstanding lineup of speakers,"
the Colorado Oil & Gas Association prepares for its annual convention, Nov. 2 at
Denver's Marriott City Center. That meeting will provide members with "a look
behind and a look ahead," says Doug
Flanders, the association's director of
policy and external affairs.
This year's convention keynote will
be delivered by Stephen Moore, a noted
economist and former editorial writer for
the Wall Street Journal. In addition to
Moore's insight into global markets, politics will be at the top of the COGA convention agenda, Flanders observes.
Unlike many previous annual assemblies, Flanders points out that this year's
gathering will take place the week before
the election instead of the day after the
polls close. "This year's presidential campaign has been one of the weirdest and
one of the least predictable," he observes.
"There is no telling how it will affect the
down-ballot races."
Where Colorado was a solidly Republican state a decade ago, according to
analysis of polls and forecasts by online
election handicapper FiveThirtyEight, the
state has swung to the Democratic side,
but still is considered a battleground state.
Although Governor John Hickenlooper
is not facing re-election, published reports
indicate he will be a leading candidate for
a cabinet position if Hillary Clinton wins
the presidency. "That adds further intrigue
to the election," Flanders comments.
State Races
Predicting which party will control
the Colorado House and Senate is likewise

a tough call, remarks COGA President
Dan Haley.
"There are several races we are watching closely," he says. "Predicting which
party will be the majority is risky."
However, no matter which party wins
control of either branch of the legislature,
the state's budget deficit will take center
stage when the 2017 session opens in
January, advise published reports.
The state's $25.8 billion budget faces
a shortfall that will amount to either $330
million, according to the legislative budget
office. Or, the deficit could be $227 million, says the governor's office. Published
reports say the governor's more optimistic
estimate has allowed him to avoid making
immediate cuts to state operations, as required by statute when spending exceeds
reserve limits.
In either case, analysts say, the deficit
will be driven by projected weaker sales
figures and lower corporate tax revenue,
which are partially the result of the down-

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
sought the middle ground between antidevelopment forces and the oil and gas
industry in 2014 by appointing a task
force on local government input. He says
if the two sides "can learn to respect
private property, acknowledge that we
are moving toward a cleaner environment,
and realize there are jobs in energy, then
there can be a balance in our conclusions."

turn in oil and gas prices. Hickenlooper
is scheduled to send a budget proposal to
the legislature on Nov. 1.
The pair of ballot initiatives aimed at
restricting oil and gas development in
Colorado were disqualified in late August
(see "Anti-Industry Petitions Fall Short
In Colorado," AOGR, September 2016).
With that development, published reports
showed industry campaign funds shifting
to key state legislative races and a ballot
initiative that would make it more difficult
to qualify initiatives intended to change
the state's constitution.
"We are a strong supporter of 'Raise
the Bar'," the ballot title for Amendment
71," says Flanders. "The state constitution
should not be the place to make a statutory
change that you were unable to get passed
by the legislature. This amendment has
broad-based support, not only from oil
and gas, but from businesses throughout
the state."
Government Challenges
During the RMES, COGA Chairman
Brad Holly, senior vice president of
Anadarko Petroleum, discussed some of
the challenges from state government
that the industry continues to meet.
"In Colorado, we face legislators on
both sides of the aisle who are very interested in our business," Holly said. "We
are a $32 billion industry with more than
100,000 employees here. We routinely
get legislation that affects our business.
As a result, COGA is very active in our
legislative process. We listen and participate, and try to help our elected officials
understand our business."
Holly noted that the executive branch
also was very active in industry affairs
through the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and the Department
of Public Health and Environment.
"They are very active in our business,"
he said. "Since 2008, we have seen eight
rule makings, eight operational guidance
documents, and 12 new policies enacted."
Holly was selected by Governor Hickenlooper as an industry representative on
a task force the governor formed in 2014
OCTOBER 2016 97



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016

Contents
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Contents
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