American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - 34

ConventionSec tion: Kentucky Oil & Gas Association
Kentucky Industry
Going Strong
PIKEVILLE, KY.-Ask Kentucky Oil
& Gas Association President Maverick
Bentley or Executive Director Ryan
Watts to describe their state's industry
in spring 2022, and they both emphasize
the same word.
" The Kentucky oil and gas industry is
strong, " Watts assesses.
" The industry and its overarching outlook
are strong, " Bentley concurs.
That robust industry is scheduled to
gather for KOGA's spring meeting on April
28 at Diversified Energy Co. in Pikeville,
where Bentley serves as senior vice president
of production operations for the company's
midstream business unit.
KOGA's resurgence is evidence of the
industry's strength, Watts argues. He contrasts
present conditions with the sharp
decline in membership and participation
during the height of the pandemic, when
commodity prices were at a low point
and conventions were unheard-of. " Now
we see an uptick in participation and
membership, " he observes.
The positive indicators extend beyond
KOGA membership rolls and events. " I
have begun to hear buzz around renewed
drilling in Kentucky, " Bentley relates. " That
clearly is driven by economics, but even
long before we saw $100 oil and $5 gas,
drilling was up, especially for oil. Now I
am also hearing more significant positive
momentum around the potential for picking
back up natural gas drilling programs. "
Necessary Ingredients
Kentucky oil and gas companies now
seem to be emerging into a brighter era,
Bentley suggests. " We are excited about
seeing demand rebound for oil, gas and
natural gas liquids, " he conveys. " With
the difficult situations in Europe, we
would have preferred to avoid such a dynamic
pricing turn, but we are glad so
many people recognize oil and gas are a
critical part of our country's national security
and quality of life. "
Watts emphasizes that KOGA backs
an all-of-the-above energy policy that
takes a " the more the merrier " approach
to various energy sources. Unfortunately,
he observes, attempts to build nontradi34
THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER
" Attacking our industry hurts investor
confidence and makes corporate decisionmakers
hesitate to put capital in play. That is
especially true when everyone is wondering
whether a negative regulatory climate will shut
us down. "
-Maverick Bentley
KOGA President
tional energy often come at the expense
of longstanding sources, hurting not
only those traditional producers, but,
eventually, consumers.
" We are not against alternative energy
or approaches, such as solar panels or
electric vehicles, and if people want to
invest in those opportunities, that is their
prerogative, " Watts reasons. " We oppose
politicians and public conversations that
vilify our industry. So much of our economy
depends on oil and gas and that really has
come to light now with the war in Ukraine.
At the end of the day, Americans understand
how much they rely on the dependable
energy supplied by oil and natural gas. "
Bentley likens such consequences to
other scenarios that have played out in the
public arena, in which a highly vocal and
aggressive constituency pushes a shortsighted
policy that eventually backfires.
" Movements in certain areas took up
a 'defund the police' refrain, and now
look at how many places have seen crime
increase, " he compares. " That same mindset
is playing out with many peoples'
sudden appreciation of the fossil fuel industry,
because they see how important
it is to the overall energy market.
" There are tens of thousands, if not
hundreds of thousands, of oil and gas
workers working hard every day to provide
energy and create our way of life, " Bentley
continues. " Some voices have vilified
them, but suddenly everyone else sees
the importance of that oil and gas worker,
operator and corporation. "
Common and Particular
Oil and gas companies' critical role
in addressing the world's energy challenges
does not shield them from many of the
pressures and challenges confronting
everyone else, Watts notes.
" I hear oil and gas operators talk about
the labor shortage that affects every other
industry, " he reports. " Our industry is
losing a lot of institutional knowledge and
struggling to find new employees who
keep showing up for work every day. "
Oil and gas companies face numerous
other difficulties common to the broader
economy, such as cost inflation and supply-chain
uncertainties, Watts observes.
However, they also wrestle with other
problems that are not as universal, and
which are largely attributable to the criticism
of fossil fuels that is popular in
some corners. " Some producers tell me
it is hard to get capital to invest in new
drilling opportunities, " he illustrates.
Bentley confirms that the industry faces
both common and specific constraints.
" We see the supply crunch across the
entire spectrum of basic supplies, from
jersey gloves to AA batteries, " he details.
" And then there is the massive blow to the
investment side. Attacking our industry
hurts investor confidence and makes corporate
decision-makers hesitate to put capital
in play. That is especially true when
everyone is wondering whether a negative
regulatory climate will shut us down. "
Watts says those onerous regulations
originate mostly from Washington these

American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - 4
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