Producers Take Offensive Against Anti-Oil Agenda

The domestic independent oil industry — including the many “mom and pop” oil companies — is under siege.
“Problems are coming at the industry fast and furious,” said Mike Cantrell, president of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance and chairman of Ada-based Cantrell Energy Corp., an oil production operating company. “We are not big oil. We are independents. No one is integrated. We are the small business men and women in the oil and gas industry.”
Cantrell has worked in the oil and gas business for more than a quarter century and is known for his passionate leadership and cutting-edge innovation. Since the 1980s, Cantrell has led the 2,000-member Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. He was a driving force and the co-founder of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. The OERB is the nation’s first oil check-off program that has used voluntary industry dollars to clean and restore thousands of abandoned well sites.
Today, Cantrell is driven to protect the industry from more attacks from Washington.
“The administration and Congress have embraced an agenda that could reduce oil and natural gas exploration by half,” Cantrell said recently at OIPA’s fall meeting in Oklahoma City. With the cap-and-trade proposals in Congress, environmental regulatory changes are being fast-tracked.
“Cap-and-trade would be the largest tax increase in U.S. history,” Cantrell said. “It would put the industry at a disadvantage, double the cost of gasoline and cost Americans millions of dollars in higher utility costs.”
The industry would be harmed by administration proposals to eliminate all of the tax provisions the industry has relied on for decades. The piling on by Washington politicians was too much, Cantrell said.
“We could not stay on the sidelines,” he said.
In March, Cantrell, with two industry leaders, Mickey Thompson, a partner and CEO of True Energy Services, and Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Enid-based Continental Resources, organized DEPA. Almost overnight, the coalition of independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners and oilfield service companies grew to a membership of 1,000 mostly small, privately owned companies from 32 states.
The alliance is reaching across the aisle and seeking support from moderate Democrats to blunt what alliance members feel is an anti-fossil fuel agenda.
“We have identified 13 so far and are holding fundraisers for them in Washington,” Cantrell said.
Among them are Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Others include North Dakota Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
The alliance has targeted Senate Democrats to frustrate legislation targeting the energy sector.
“We need just enough on every vote to maintain a filibuster,” he said. “We are not going to get a majority. But, we just need 40.”
While Cantrell is accustomed to fighting political battles, he maintains his perspective on lawmakers.
“They are not bad people,” Cantrell said. “We just think they are wrong.” ?

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