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ODNR Releases Oil and Natural Gas Totals for Second Quarter 2019

Posted By Brad Miller, Monday, September 9, 2019

Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced 5,813,755 barrels of oil and 614,218,362 Mcf (614 billion cubic feet) of natural gas during the second quarter of 2019, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

That is an increase in oil production of 29.5 percent and natural gas production of 10.8 percent compared to the second quarter of a year ago.

From ODNR's press release:

The ODNR quarterly report lists 2,365 horizontal shale wells, 2,317 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the wells reporting oil and natural gas results:

  • The average amount of oil produced was 2,509 barrels.
  • The average amount of natural gas produced was 265,092 Mcf.
  • The average number of second quarter days in production was 86.

A full breakdown of the report can be accessed here.

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Member Spotlight: William Murray, American Refining Group

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org

General Information

William (Bill) Murray was born in Massachusetts while his father was stationed there in the military. Shortly afterwards they moved back to Ohio and he was raised in the small town of Waynesburg, right in the middle of the East Canton oilfield. He remembered as a young child in the late 1960s and seeing bright lights in the fields, which he later learned were drilling rigs, and far off flames, which he also learned was gas being flared. Murray grew up in the Clinton oil boom and at the time didn’t realize that he would end up working in the oil and gas industry for his career.

Murray went to Sandy Valley High School and got his initial interest in the industry from his football coach. Coach Widder had graduated from Marietta College and his closest friends from college, one of those being Dan Pottmeyer, had success working as a petroleum engineer. Coach Widder nudged Murray into the petroleum program based on his academics. Marietta College was a good fit for Murray as he also wanted to play college baseball, and the school had a very good baseball program—he really wanting to be a professional baseball player. Murray took the advice of his coach and enrolled in petroleum engineering and also played baseball there and was on Marietta’s first National Championship team in 1981. This ended up being a great experience in all aspects for Murray. After graduating in 1983, Murray started his 35 plus year career in oil and gas industry. Currently, Bill resides in North Canton, Ohio with his wife Linda and son Cole, 15. Bill also has two grown children, Lucas 31, Morgan 27, and five grandchildren.

Industry Experience

At the time it was almost guaranteed that you would land a job right out of college with a degree in petroleum engineering. During the tail end of Murray’s time in Marietta prices spiked in 1981, but when he graduated in 1983 prices were much lower and it was becoming increasingly hard to get placed with a major oil company after graduation. However, Murray was very fortunate and landed his first in the fall of 1983 at an independent oil and gas company, Belden & Blake Corporation in North Canton. He remembers competing with three other classmates from Marietta College and had the feeling of winning the lottery when he awarded the job.

Belden & Blake was a large independent company, which was later purchased by Enervest. Murray had a great 20-year career, starting with the company as an engineer in his early 20s and getting a lot of exposure to different areas in the oil patch. Belden & Blake invested a lot of resources in technology, and Murray estimates having been involved in the drilling and fracing of more than 1,000 wells during his time with the company. One of the highlights was leading a team that drilled the first horizontal well in Ohio in the Clinton Sandstone in the late 1980s. “Drilling horizontal wells in the Clinton Sand could be a very important key to the future success for many of our Ohio’s legacy operators,” said Murray. “It would be really great for this horizontal drilling in the Clinton to work for the conventional oil producers.” Throughout his career at Belden & Blake, Murray continued to move up within the organization, to Vice President and General Manager and led one of five Belden & Blake’s operating divisions.

American Refining Group, Inc.

After working 20 years on the exploration and production side of the business with Belden & Blake, Murray made a move to the crude oil refining side of the business and went to work for the American Refining Group (ARG) in 2004 to focus on ARG’s crude oil supply for the refinery. Now having been with ARG for 15 years, Murray is as excited to be in this industry as any point in his career.

“I am so fortunate to work for such a good company where I have the opportunity to work and serve so many hard working oil and gas producers in Ohio and the Appalachian Basin, it’s hard to even call it work,” said Murray. “The relationships with the oil producers are special. I really enjoy this role, and my focus here at ARG is to satisfy the crude oil producers and to provide them with a high level of service to help them be more successful. As the Producers are more successful, so is ARG.”

ARG is a specialty lubricant refinery headquartered in Bradford Pennsylvania. It’s the oldest continuously operating lube oil refinery in the world, started in 1881 near the Drake discovery well in Pennsylvania. ARG is a specialty refining solutions provider, with a full range of high quality products including base oils, waxes, resins, naphthas, distillate solvents, fuels and industrial lubricants. ARG sells a hydrocarbon based drilled mud locally in the Utica/Marcellus shale play and is the largest supplier of zinc free rail road engine oil east of the Mississippi. ARG focuses on specialty niche products to add value to its customers. Murray works out of ARG’s crude terminal in Mineral City, Ohio with 25 employees’ onsite at this location that focuses on crude purchasing and crude hauling. The crude purchasing team’s mission is to provide a high level service to the crude oil producers and to provide long term crude supply to run the refinery in Bradford at full capacity. Approximately 45 percent of the refinery’s crude supply comes from Ohio both from conventional wells and Utica Shale wells, which plays a large role in the success of ARG.

“We are serving more than a few hundred Ohio crude oil producers, ranging from an individual well owner to larger operators with several thousand wells and we appreciate every single producer,” said Murray.

On a daily basis, ARG’s crude purchasing and gathering team is staying connected to Ohio producers to serve their crude hauling needs. Crude hauls are tracked very closely to ensure a high level service is being provided. The current average time from ARG is two days from “call to haul” which is a turnaround time they company prides itself on. Murray is vice president of crude supply and logistics, and his team is responsible for making sure the refinery has ample crude supply for both the short and long-term.

OOGA Involvement

Over the past 36 years, Murray has been fortunate enough to work with many great oil and gas producers and to be involved with the Association. Murray has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since he started working in the industry in 1983. He’s remained involved and engaged in OOGA over the years because of OOGA’s strong support of the industry and the relationships he’s established and maintained through his OOGA involvement. Having involvement in the industry beyond Ohio’s borders, Murray noted that the working environment in Ohio is far better to other states. He attributes this to OOGA’s excellent leadership and proactiveness with the legislature and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Murray described ARG’s success as being solely dependent upon the success of the producers. ARG likes to remain actively engaged in OOGA and to support the Association in its mission to serve all stakeholders. Murray described how ARG feels privileged to support the Association by being major sponsors at many of its events, which he finds to be invaluable networking opportunities. Attending OOGA events that bring the industry together as a whole, is a great way to gather with customers and suppliers.

Murray is currently involved in participating in the producers committee and the events committee. Murray was co-chair of the safety committee for about seven years. This committee recognized the need to expand its efforts, and he helped to launch the Ohio Oil & Gas Safety Council. This put into place a dedicated resource to provide the necessary information and training to make the industry a leader in Safety. Murray also had participated on the legal affairs committee. Murray looks forward to continuing to be very involved with the Association for many years to come.

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Ohio Oil and Gas Association Presents the 2019 Oilfield Patriot Award

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Updated: Thursday, July 18, 2019

The 2019 Oilfield Patriot Award was presented to Amanda Finn, Director—Government Relations at Ascent Resources, an annual honor bestowed by the OOGA. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to protect, promote and advance the common interests of those engaged in all aspects of Ohio’s crude oil and natural gas industry.

The patriot award recognizes leadership within the Association that steps up and works for the benefit of all in this industry. OOGA President Steve Downey said that, “Amanda is a leader and patriot in that respect because of her involvement with the new and disruptive changes that are happening in our industry, and her concern that everyone who is a part of this industry benefits”. And for that reason, Finn is highly deserving of the 2019 Oilfield Patriot Award.

Finn has been with Ascent Resources for three years, working out of the Cambridge office. Prior to that she worked for Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation in government relations. Finn has an wide-ranging background in government affairs and marketing. She has been involved with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since 2015, currently on the Association’s executive committee, board of trustees, chairs the government affairs committee, and is an active participant on the communications and regulatory committee.

When asked what the award and presentation ceremony meant to her she shared that “it is a huge privilege to be able to represent the industry as a whole in all aspects of my job.  Being added to a list of amazing recipients that have been presented this award was humbling and a highlight of my career”.

This year’s award was presented at the Summer Meeting of OOGA at the Glenmoor County Club in the Canton area. 

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OOGA Member Spotlight: Kathy Hill, Ergon

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org


Kathy Hill was born in Southampton, Pennsylvania outside of northeast Philadelphia. Hill attended Penn State University to study engineering, and with some influence from her school advisor, she enrolled in the petroleum engineering program. With no family ties in the oil and gas industry, this program appealed to Hill as the career opportunities were described as working both outside and in an office, which she saw as being the best of both worlds. Once in the program, the curriculum was a good fit for Hill and she enjoyed the geology, engineering, and math and science coursework.      

Industry Experience

After graduating from Penn State with a degree in petroleum engineering, Hill continued moving westward and found her first job in Belpre, Ohio working for Quaker State. Ohio would remain home as Hill continued to build her career in the oil and gas industry. Quaker State had wells in Ohio and West Virginia and Hill started in the production department. 

Her first field experience was in Ashland County, where she was assigned to the Red Haw Water Flood project, which Hill found to be a great place to start out. This was exciting because it included a comprehensive introduction to the industry. Hill found herself working with field personnel in the maintenance of injection and producing wells. She also got involved in new drilling projects and dealt with spacing producers and injection wells for good water flood flow. All of this allowed her to learn the operations of the business and see drilling projects all the way through to completion. Hill described the most interesting part of this role and time period was seeing wells being shot with nitroglycerin.

Early on Hill was faced with the ebbs and flows of the industry and found herself looking for a new position as the industry was entering a downturn. The next step for her was working for small local producers around Marietta. The following 16 years gave Hill the full experience of how oil and gas companies function. She experienced everything from oil and gas production monitoring, gas marketing nominations, workovers, drilling and completions, all the way to planning joint ventures with other companies. Hill felt it was the right time to move on just as shale drilling started happening in Ohio, thinking her employer was likely to sell to a larger company.


Hill started working for Ergon Oil Purchasing, Inc. in 2013 as a crude buyer covering southern Ohio and areas in West Virginia. The main facets of this role are managing customer accounts including purchasing, trucking, and proper payment; all in an effort to supply Ergon’s West Virginia refinery. Hill meets with the seller and gets a list of the tanks they want hauled, assigns a tank’s number, and then goes to the site to actually strap the tank. Strapping a tank entails measuring the circumference, doing calculations to determine the volume so that they get paid correctly, and includes directions and detailed information for that tank. She will then work a number of haulers including Ergon Trucking, BD Oil Gathering, Oil Haulers, EnLink and Energy Transportation to coordinate hauling schedules.

“It is nice working for Ergon to work with producers; I get to see what they’re doing and discuss the industry,” said Hill. “I feel like I’m able to give them good service, because I understand what they’re going through since I’ve also been on that side of the business. Ergon has been a great company to work for, they treat all their employees like family.”

This role has brought Hill’s career in the oil business full-circle, from starting out on drilling projects all the way to completion, to now being on the service and purchasing end. In her role as a crude buyer she works closely with the other branches of Ergon, specifically with Ergon Trucking and Ergon Terminaling. The transitioning from many years in the production side has been an adjustment and Hill is glad to still be able to work with the same group of people and build strong relationships. Hill brings a high level of knowledge and experience in the industry that she’s able to bring to the purchasing role, if a customer is experiencing a problem she’s able to help solve it.

Ergon’s operations have continued to expand with the needs of the industry. As shale drilling started in this region, Ergon expanded from hauling PennGrade oil and now also hauls condensate. One of the greatest changes Hill has witnessed in the industry has been shale drilling, and the enormous scale of the new drilling operations from what she was previously used to.

“When I started strapping tanks for Utica shale companies, it amazed me because the service roads were extremely well done, and the tank pads are huge,” described Hill. “I was used to going for a PennGrade customer and strapping one or two tanks, now I go to these sites and there can be upwards of 14 tanks to strap.”

OOGA Involvement

Hill has been a longtime member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, first joining when she worked at Quaker State. Over the years she’s been able to stay involved with many of the small companies she worked for. Even though the industry crosses different areas, Hill likes that it has a small community feel and that she is able to keep in touch through networking and OOGA events.

When Hill was new and just starting out in the industry, the OOGA was a huge learning tool.  The meetings and technical sessions really helped to demonstrate to her how the business fit in Ohio. In addition to OOGA events and seminars, she also mentioned how she was able to learn so much from the new people she’s met within the Association.

“The Association has helped me stay in touch with people in the industry, through my career transitions and time away while starting a family,” said Hill. “That was really important to me, I feel lucky I was able to stay employed and in touch with this group of people in the industry.”

Ergon is involved with the OOGA and Hill says the company greatly enjoys all that the Association does for its members. Ergon finds benefits in the annual events where they get to catch up with current customers, while also networking with new people and getting exposure to new customers. The Association also helps them learn about what everyone is doing in the industry and causes them to think about ways to improve the business. Hill feels that the oil and gas business has been a great industry for her to build her career within.

Tags:  Ergon  oil and gas  OOGA 

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ODNR Releases Oil and Natural Gas Totals for First Quarter 2019, Natural Gas Production Drops For First Time

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has released its first quarter 2019 Ohio shale wells production totals. Over the first three months of this year, Ohio’s shale wells produced 5,073,536 barrels of oil and 609,452,391 McF (609 billion cubic feet) of natural gas.

Various media outlets covering the industry have reported on these latest production numbers. Some of these articles have conflicting headlines, so in order to properly make sense of them, let’s break it down:



Any instances touting a “significant increase” or “production on the rise” is looking at a data comparison of Q1 2019 to Q1 2018. Comparing that time frame and what producers were producing an entire year previously, there was significant surges seen from 2019 production of five million barrels of oil and 609 bcf of gas, to 2018 production 3,942,251 barrels of oil and 531 bcf of natural gas.

Other outlets have reported “oil and gas production dips” or “volumes decline” which is an accurate description when comparing the data from Q1 2019 to Q4 2018. Looking at production volumes from Ohio producers ending Q4 2018, the state saw 5,810,484 barrels of oil and 664 bcf of natural gas, which is higher than the five million barrels of oil and 609 bcf of natural gas in Q1 2019.  

Looking at a comparison on a quarter-by-quarter basis, natural gas production has dropped for the first time ever since ODNR has started tracking these statistics in 2012. Oil production is also experiencing a drop after climbing most of 2018, the last drop in oil production was seen ending Q4 2017 to the start of Q1 2018.

Another key element to consider when looking at the ODNR quarterly production reports is that they are reflecting information from the quarter before the current quarter. The production report that was released on May 31, 2019 is covering production results that happened in January 2019 through March 2019. The numbers seen are reflective of the cyclical commodities that are oil and natural gas. For any producers working in this industry, they have seen and experienced the ebbs and flows of the market firsthand and continue to adapt. 

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OOGA Member Spotlight: Tracy Stevens, Dominion Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Friday, May 31, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org


Tracy Stevens was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio to attend Kent State University. Originally, she set out to go into journalism, but veered paths and finished school with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in rhetoric. Throughout this time, she was building soft skills through extracurricular involvement with nonprofit boards, leadership and teambuilding programs, all of which kept her in the community after her formal education was finished. At this time, it was the late 1980s and she decided to take a few months off to get married and have her daughter, before jumping back into the workforce.

Stevens has been teaching communication classes at Kent State University since 1984 and is still teaching there today. In addition, she started working for the Canton Repository in 1990. The Repository hired her as a Newspaper and Education Literacy Coordinator, where she worked with local schools to develop programming to use the newspaper to increase literacy.

What transpired next led Stevens into the energy and utility industry when Dominion Energy came knocking on the door, recruiting Stevens as its Associate Education Representative. This happened in 1993 just as there were a lot of changes on the horizon for natural gas, Local Distribution Company (LDC) and the energy business as a whole.

“I brought all my background in education and curriculum assessment into that position and started branching out my portfolio and career path with Dominion,” described Stevens.  

Dominion Energy Experience

Stevens has worked for Dominion Energy for the last 26 years. In her early days as the Education Representative, the focus was on the entire soup-to-nuts process of educating consumers on how they were getting their energy. A lot of this was done in the time of career-technology and was accomplished working directly with superintendents of schools, curriculum directors, educating students in STEM work, and helping to support science fairs. Stevens recalled having a kit of materials (which she still has) to explain the industry and how it moves gas.

Some of her career progression throughout the organization was organic, and some of it was through the changing evolution of Dominion Energy through acquisitions and the integration of companies that created shifting roles. The Education Representative role transpired into Local Affairs Manager, which later on lent itself to picking up the government affairs piece. Stevens continued to build community relationships with city council members, county commissioners, engineers at all levels and would be liaison for preconstruction meetings.

“When I’m sitting in the room with all of the chamber folks because we’re working with nonprofits, and the economic development people are there, I already have those relationships,” described Stevens.

Stevens is now the External Affairs Manager of Dominion Energy, with her focus area covering eastern and southern pieces of Ohio, including all of the shale counties. When asked to describe what External Affairs means, she says it is a catch-all for internal and external populations. The relationships Stevens has fostered over the years, have made her the person to call, and then she can direct to the right area within Dominion Energy. This can cover almost anything from internal engineers upgrading a compressor station, dealing with pre-construction meetings and consumer issues, all the way to a request from a nonprofit asking for funding to support a program.

Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy is best described as a broad-based energy company, with nearly 7.5 million customers in 18 states supplying homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas. The company has more than $100 billion in assets providing electric generation, transmission and distribution, as well as natural gas storage, transmission, distribution and import/export services. They also have an entire renewable portfolio and is a leader in solar operations.

Dominion Energy has had historical relationships with Ohio producers for more than a hundred years and will continue to far into the future. Producers provide its product to Dominion Energy, which serves as the local distribution company to get that gas into homes. This entails LDC construction maintenance crews to lay pipe, both main line and service line, and field metering services personnel, ensuring the safety of those lines to the meter. Natural gas service interruptions can be more disruptive than electrical outages, replacing gas lines or planned maintenance work often require entry to the home to test that lines are safe. All of which is done with two main priorities, safety and compliance.

Stevens said, “our focus on safety is matched by our commitment to compliance, to make sure that all of our people, products, and pipelines, as well as customers safety.”

The biggest change that Stevens has seen over the years is the availability of gas from the Utica shale play. At times Dominion Energy received 80% of its gas from Ohio producers. Some of the pipeline projects have really changed the landscape and provided more opportunities for their customer base. They have long-term commitments for larger pipelines, and are now focusing on working as a LDC to be able to facilitate changes in its territory, where previously, they would have faced constrain and not had access to a local producer.  

Energy Industry

The energy industry has been appealing and kept Stevens around for more than two decades because each day is different. Coming from a background in education and nonprofit, she did not have a scientific or technical background and enjoyed the learning curve.

“The chance to learn the energy business is something that has afforded me so much variety in each of the areas I’ve worked. I’ve learned about call centers, pipelines, safety and product. I’m also thrilled to be part of an industry that is going to give so much opportunity for economic advancement in the communities we’re working in too,” said Stevens.

Stevens predicts that over the next five years the industry is going to see even more economic development. It is exciting for Stevens to see Southeastern Ohio been put on the map thanks to the oil and gas industry. Hometown opportunity being created in manufacturing and the potential of petrochemical plants in this region just make so much sense.

OOGA Involvement

Dominion Energy has always been involved with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. Stevens personally became involved over the last five years as she was building economic development relationships. Not being extremely familiar with all of the innerworkings of the oil and gas industry, she felt the need to better understand the producer community and the best way of doing so was to become an OOGA member.

“The networking opportunities has led to a lot of really innovative opportunities to help communities I’m working in. I’ve been really pleased to be a member of OOGA to be able to do that,” said Stevens. “Paying forward and paying it back are extremely important to me personally and also to Dominion Energy—it’s a really nice partnership that OOGA satisfies.”

Coming from a background in communications, it was a natural fit for Stevens to get involved with the OOGA communications committee. Dominion Energy is the original premier corporate member of the Association and has many other people from its staff involved in various capacities.

Stevens also cited the diversity in OOGA’s membership, from its legacy producers to shale producers, have provided great learning opportunities. To have all of those people in one room has been extremely beneficial and helped make her more informed about the industry. She says she looks forward to continuing to learn more about all that OOGA does, and how it can help continue to move the industry forward.

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OOGA and Ascent Resources Team Up to Expose Students To Oil And Gas Opportunities

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association has teamed up with Ascent Resources, the Ohio Department of Education and Lt. Governor Jon Husted’s office to hold a tour of a well pad and drilling rig for students at Harrison Hills Jr/Sr. High School during In Demand Jobs Week.


In Demand Jobs Week, was from May 6-10 and is a statewide celebration of jobs, industries, and skills that are in demand in Ohio. Ohio’s oil and gas industry took this as an opportunity to share with local students and educators up close a local well pad with an active drilling rig in Harrison County.


Amanda Finn, with Ascent Resources shared that, “we are so very proud of the work we do here in Harrison County and we happily jumped at the opportunity to showcase one of our locations to students that, perhaps, will one day hopefully be part of our industry in Ohio."


With ever increasing operations in Ohio, Ascent Resources is the most active producer in Ohio and is the number one producer of natural gas in the state.


“It takes a team of people working together towards a common goal to pull a tour of this scope off,” shared Mike Chadsey with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “Our ongoing goal is to continue to bring awareness and excitement around our industry and today’s tour with the school was part of the objective and we could not have done that without our partners at Ascent and the Lt. Governor’s office."


Once on the pad, the students put on their safety gear and were split into two groups to explore the operations. The first group climbed up the rig stairs to learn about how a well is drilled and the various jobs available with a natural gas producer, while the second group walked around the pad location to learn about the various supplies, contractors and vendors that it takes to put a well into production. Then the two groups switched.


During the tours, the students asked a wide array of questions ranging from technical aspects of the operation, different career opportunities, and steps they need to take to get there. Many expressed an interest to pursue a career in the industry to the several of the rig crew members on location.

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OOGA Member Spotlight: Ray Walker, Encino Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org




Ray Walker grew up on a farm in Clyde, Texas, a small town outside of Abilene. Walker is the oldest of five children. The one family tie to the oil and gas industry was his grandfather, who was a roughneck in the Kilgore East Texas oilfield days back in the 1940s. He took Walker out to his first rig shortly after graduating high school. This was his first experience in the oil business—and it seemed pretty interesting to him.


When Walker graduated high school with a class of 33 students, he then went on to Texas A&M University and studied Agricultural Engineering. Arriving at Texas A&M was a whole new world. When he attended his first college course, there were more students in the class than the entire K-12 school district in Clyde. To pay his way through college, Walker roughnecked on an oil rig. He graduated in 1979 with more than 70 job offers. Walker accepted his best offer—to go work for Halliburton in the oilfield.


Industry Overview


Walker’s first role at Halliburton was on a well control team fighting well fires all over the world. The reason he was put on this team was because he was good with a slide rule and could do calculations quickly. He spent nearly three years in this position and continued to grow his career and expertise within Halliburton over the next 12 years, becoming a “frack guru” and publishing author of multiple papers on this expertise.


In 1991, Walker went to work for Union Pacific Resources Corp (UPR), the exploration and production arm of the Union Pacific Railroad. His first role there took him to Carthage, Texas where he ran the entire east Texas gas plant. Two years later he moved to Fort Worth and was the east Texas team leader. Walker stayed in Fort Worth for the next nine years and went on to become the U.S. Onshore Operations Manager for UPR.


As one of the early pioneers of horizontal drilling and completion techniques, Walker holds a uniquely rare expertise in this break through technology. He has also published on this subject matter expertise and is truly looked to as an expert in water frack and horizontal drilling.


“It was pretty exciting,” described Walker. “It was brand new. It was one of those things where we did a few wells, and it worked, and the next thing you knew we had 40-50 rigs running. At one time I had 40 rigs reporting to me, so it was quite an experience.” 

The year 2000 became a turning point on multiple fronts, there were two things that happened deemed “tornado one” and “tornado two.” Tornado one was an actual tornado that hit downtown Fort Worth and destroyed the 40-story building where the UPR offices were located. Tornado two was that Anadarko Petroleum Corp came to town to buy UPR.


Walker did not want to go to Houston to work for Anadarko. When he was approached about starting up a new company, it took his interest. The next five years brought three different start-up opportunities that were private equity backed. Two of them worked, one did not at all, as the money fell apart in each of the ventures, it became Walker’s golden rule that, “he who has the gold makes the rules.”


Frustrated from the start-up hurdles, in 2006 Walker found comfort in taking his industry expertise to consulting. Within the first couple months, a friend at Range Resources called Walker and described a well near Pittsburgh that they couldn’t frack after the first horizontal attempt. Since Walker had designed and pumped the very first frack job ever done on a shale well in 1982 for George Mitchell, he was the natural go-to person for this job. Walker thought he was going to Pittsburgh, Texas but after some clarification on asking what the Marcellus was, he realized he was going to Pennsylvania.


In early 2006, Walker went to Pittsburgh as a consultant for Range Resources. A few months later, he was offered a full-time position. The next thing he knew Range wanted him to start a new office in Pennsylvania. Walker ended up as employee number one in this region. The entire Marcellus play was three wells making 800mcf a day. Walker remained in Pennsylvania for the next four and a half years (or five winters as he described it) as the COO of Range Resources. Once the Pennsylvania operation was up and running, Walker moved back to Fort Worth and started contemplating retirement. In April 2018, he officially retired from Range Resources. This didn’t last long and, after three months, he started consulting again.


The Encino Energy Story


Walker was in Houston and happened to run into John Pinkerton, former CEO at Range Resources. Pinkerton knew Walker was consulting again and wanted him to meet Hardy Murchison, the President and CEO of Encino Energy. It didn’t take Murchison long to convince Walker to work for him a few days a week, and as Walker describes it, “I basically never left.”


Walker recounted that this May, he will have worked in the oil business for 44 years. “I can honestly say every day since then has been an adventure. It has been an exciting career, it has been challenging and there’s so many different aspects of it that make it interesting.”


In the web of relationships, Murchison worked for Pinkerton at Range Resources in the 1990s.  He left Range to go back to attend Harvard Business School, thinking he would come back to work for Range at a later time. That did not happen, and Murchison went on to become a managing partner at First Reserve Corporation, a private equity company. After some time in the private equity world, decided he wanted to start his own company—which he did in 2011 by forming Encino Energy


Murchison believed it was a good time to be a buyer in the market and started acquiring minerals, non-oppositions and a few wells to operate. This progressed for the next few years and started becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace around 2015, with billions of dollars in private equity coming into the industry. Pinkerton’s vision was to stop messing around with the little stuff, or as Walker described, “Pinkerton says, ‘let’s quit hunting rabbits and let’s start hunting bears.’”


“Encino Energy spent about two years looking at assets in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Utica, Marcellus, even looked at the SCOOP And STACK, and after all of that the Utica won out,” explained Walker. “It was the best economics, best potential, best upside and it became a match made in heaven.”


Murchison had developed a partnership with the Canadian Pension Plan, $300+ billion pension plan, the third largest in the world. The partnership made sense for both parties involved that were looking for a long-term investment, that was very different from any normal private equity fund that you hear about.


“It’s hard to describe how unique the Encino story is and our vision, because we really are long-term,” said Walker. “We’re not a public company that has to live quarter-to-quarter, and we’re not a normal private equity deal where we’re worried about having to flip this deal in a few years. We really are interested in generating stable activity and cash flow, and doing things the right way.”


They announced in July and at that time had 26 people employeed in Texas. Walker came on board full time in August, and what evolved from six weeks of consulting was that Encino needed a COO to help build the organization, stand up the system and build a team that can go drill. What it means for Ohio are intentions of steady work for service companies, jobs for its employees for generations to come, with Walker estimating that there’s 50 years of drilling in the Utica.


OOGA Involvement


After spending time in Pennsylvania, Walker met people there who knew what they were doing in the industry and fostered relationships working together over the years. This lended itself to Walker being a founding member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). He saw the importance of trade organizations that are well organized and have consistent messaging, which seemed to hold the most weight with legislators and regulatory agencies.


“The one thing I always admired about Ohio was that they avoided a lot of the mistakes we made early on in Pennsylvania,” explained Walker. “We were going up the learning curve, and I think OOGA looked at that and went up the curve a whole lot faster and smarter, which is a good thing.”


Walker recalled the first time he met with ODNR, and how different that experience was from meeting with Pennsylvania’s regulatory agency. He felt welcomed and that they were actually interested in helping them start drilling in Ohio. He also noted that OOGA’s overall approach to working together with regulators and legislators has been developed very positively, compared to many other states he’s done work in.


“I understand how important a strong trade organization is, and I see that with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association,” said Walker. “There was never any question in my mind that Encino was going to get involved in OOGA and would like to play a big role. We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars, I think it’s critical that we have a strong organization representing the industry and that’s here to help the members succeed in Ohio.” 

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OOGA Welcomes Brad Miller, Director of Membership

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

In early April the Ohio Oil and Gas Association welcomed Brad Miller to our staff in the role of Membership Director. The OOGA is excited to have Brad in this newly created position with the goal of driving new membership and providing current members a go-to membership resource person.


As Membership Director Brad will focus on recruiting new members, some in categories the organization has not previously placed a focus on targeting. Another component of this role will be retaining current members to ensure they are recognizing value of their membership and educating them on the work your Association is doing on your behalf.  This is especially vital as we’re entering a period of consideration for dues restructuring.  Finally, Brad will be assisting in driving sponsorships for all of our events.   


“I am excited for this opportunity to help the Ohio Oil and Gas Association bolster its membership. I am eager to get to know current members and develop strategies for growing this Association,” said Miller.


Brad’s background and experience at the Ohio House of Representatives lends him to be a strong fit for the OOGA and this role. Following his graduation from the Ohio State University, Brad began working at the House as a communications assistant. He transitioned to the Ohio House Republican Organization Committee (OHROC) where he was director of communications for more than four years. Most recently he was press secretary/deputy communications director for the Ohio House Speaker and Republican caucus.


“I am greatly looking forward to seeing Brad develop this role within the OOGA and building our membership,” said Matthew Hammond, executive vice president of OOGA. “It is long overdue for OOGA to have someone focused solely on our membership and strengthen affiliations with our organization as we stand to present a unified voice for the industry.” 


We are currently in a position to grow our membership and maximize revenue. Over the past few years membership has changed to reflect the concentration of the Utica play, consolidation of both shale and conventional operators, service companies and other entities within membership classifications.

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Member Spotlight: Karen Matusic, XTO Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Monday, April 1, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org

Background/ Industry Overview

Karen Matusic grew up in Jefferson County before the oil and gas industry’s impact was even a thought there. Matusic stayed local for college, attending Bethany College in West Virginia and was a communication major with an emphasis in journalism. Right out of school she took her first job as a journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, where she began working as a foreign correspondent for a local newspaper. This would lead her to her next position as a journalist for Reuters News Agency where she wrote in English and in Spanish. In the late 1980s she started covering the oil and gas industry, at the time Venezuela’s involvement with OPEC was a hot topic.

Matusic described saying to her boss, “I want to cover the oil beat, and my boss said, “no woman has ever covered the oil beat,” and by the end of my time at the newspaper I got to cover the oil beat. I learned about the upstream and downstream sectors and it was an exciting time as they were developing heavy oils there at that time. I learned a lot from being in a producing country and a lot about OPEC.”

Matusic has dual citizenship in Britain and the United States since she was born in London to a British mother. After four years in Venezuela (and loving every minute of it) she went to London to work for Dow Jones in the early 1990s to cover energy, eventually running its global energy service.

“The first day I was covering futures markets I didn’t even understand the language. After six months I was talking that language, which was the same situation as when I was learning Spanish. This really planted the seed in me that I loved commodities,” explained Matusic. “I began to see that oil and energy is a key factor in geopolitics and is the cog in virtually every economy, whether you’re a producer or consumer.”

After three years at Dow Jones she was poached by Reuters to go back and run its energy service, covering OPEC there up until the mid 2000s. Her return to Reuters started in London but took her to the Middle East, based in Dubai where she was the first woman Bureau Chief for the Gulf Countries covering Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Yemen. The reporting expanded from OPEC, to covering wars, and the Saudi royal family. After moving back to London, Matusic was in charge of UK general news which covered the war on terror during the time of September 11 and the spread of Islamic extremism in Europe.

Matusic described that every job she had, whether it was in general news, always led her back to energy and politics. She took a new opportunity to move to Washington D.C. to work for Energy Intelligence, and she was reporting for the publication Petroleum Intelligence Weekly where she specialized in Middle East and Iraq war coverage.

In 2006 the American Petroleum Institute (API) offered her a job to run its media department. Matusic cited the transitional struggles many journalism professionals face transitioning to public relations, but that she was eager to take on this role and new faucet of communications.

“To go from journalist to PR is not an easy thing for a lot of journalists. I had been a journalist all of my professional life. But I had covered the industry and I knew there were a lot of fallacies about the industry.  Since I believed in the industry and admired the technology and know-how, it was not a difficult transition for me.”

An active member of API, ExxonMobil offered Matusic a position to do corporate media relations in 2010 from its Dallas headquarters. The job focused on executive corporate media relations for then-CEO Rex Tillerson and Exxon’s senior management committee. The acquisition of XTO Energy in 2010 would make ExxonMobil the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. When XTO opened an office in Pittsburgh, Matusic mustered perhaps her best lobbying performance to convince her boss in Dallas to allow her to move back home to set up public and government affairs in the region in 2011.

XTO Energy started out of Cross Timbers with a small group of oil and gas employees that formed the company. They expanded to eventually become the largest gas producer in the country, at which point an acquisition by ExxonMobil became of interest. Specializing in unconventional production, the company had the technology and know-how to cost effectively produce oil and gas that was difficult to access. As the merger matured, XTO unconventional resource experts are overseeing a key cog in Exxon’s upstream portfolio shales and are currently operating in most shale plays across the country and others worldwide.

Back home

After serving as an Exxon lobbyist in Washington DC, where she worked on lifting the U.S. crude export ban, and then returning to Texas where she helped establish Exxon’s public affairs operations in the thriving Delaware Basin division, Matusic has returned back to the job she has most loved. Matusic is based in Wheeling West Virginia, and covers the Appalachian division which spans Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Delaware. However, she primarily operates out of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Matusic oversees everything from community engagement, to media relations, to government affairs, to internal engagement and communications, social media for the region, and engagement with public or government officials.

Having grown up in this region, Matusic has seen firsthand how the industry is transforming the area. In Ohio, XTO is concentrated in Belmont and Monroe counties. Belmont is the largest producing county in Ohio and is very prolific  

Investment in the communities they operate in extremely important to XTO and ExxonMobil, with the adopted philosophy of entering the community as an active participant. This takes the form of community advisory panels meeting quarterly to discuss areas of mutual interest among county commissioners, first responders, charitable organizations, educators, and service companies.

“I think there is a welcome here that you don’t always get in some other states,” said Matusic “However I still think there is a still a lot of education to do, and a lot of fallacies and rumors to dispel; communication is key, and we are very proactive in the communicating with our stakeholders.”

Part of why Matusic thinks this way, is that Ohio has a history of extractive industries. All of the employees at XTO live in the tri-state and most are from the area, so they have an appreciation for what’s important to the community. Another component of what goes into their approach to entering a new community is to never assume that they know everything, that why it’s so important for to engage, well before they start to drill.

The greatest misconceptions among the tri-state area that Matusic runs into is that all of the counties and townships are the same and that they all operate similarly. This is definitely not the case and drives home the importance of the steps they take when entering a new community.

Matusic describes what she thinks is a great attribute about the region, “I think here there is a community sense that they want to industry to do well, because that means the community does well. There’s an appreciation that this industry is here to stay, and that we’re investing in the future. Great sense of community that we’re all in this together and want this to work, more some than some other areas.

OOGA Involvement

XTO and ExxonMobil are both advocates of trade association involvement and presenting a united front on issues of mutual importance. XTO has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since it started operating in Ohio in 2010. They are also involved in numerous other state trade organizations, every big national organization, and every chamber of commerce where they have a drill bit.

“I think with Ohio what strikes me is everyone in Ohio, from the community members, to the trade association, to the operators, are pulling together because we want Ohio to thrive, and we all want to be a part of that.”

The camaraderie among the trade groups and the stakeholders is also extremely important in providing regulators, legislators and policymakers with a one stop shop for industry information.

“I really like being a member of OOGA because technically speaking you have a lot of expertise,” said Matusic. “Those of us who have come in new to Ohio benefit from the knowledge and the history of the folks that have come before us. Ohio has a rich history of being an oil and gas state, so whenever there is regulation discussed I can also count on the expertise and ideas of other producers involved with OOGA.”

Matusic is a current OOGA Board of Trustees member and is actively involved on the communications committee. She truly feels forums of shared ideas among this group and talking about different ways of communicating is vitally important to this industry. It is really important that everyone is on the same page and that we provide good materials to the public and policy makers because it is not an easy industry to understand. At the end of the day, we all are in this together.

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