Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do

divide_mountainsAt the end of each year, I always find that it’s good to take stock of the past year and to take a look at what’s ahead.

For our industry, the past 12 months have been tough. And the next 12 could be equally so.

Commodity prices have been more than cut in half. Rig counts have been halved. Companies are being forced to react to this down cycle.

The words of the day continue to be: Reductions. Mergers. Restructurings.

Yet even as we feverishly work to build organizations that are better equipped to handle today’s operating environment, the world outside our industry continues to change as well.

The regulatory environment, from the federal government down to your local government, continues to evolve.

Those special interest activists who want to limit – or completely stop – the responsible development of our natural resources continue to persist despite the facts going against them.

Global market forces continue to bear down.

It’s enough to make you want to yank your hair out.

But, as oil and gas industry veterans know this better than most, tough times never last. Tough people do.

And while 2016 will be a challenging year, we need to always remember why we’re here. We need to remind ourselves that what this industry does each day – what the men and women out in the field do each day – is essential.

It’s essential to our economic well-being. (We’re a $30 billion industry in Colorado alone!) It’s essential to fueling our daily lives in the plugged-in, hyper-connected 21st century. And it’s essential to our security and our future.

While these are tough times for us, we need to remember that these are good times for consumers who are paying less to fuel their cars and less to heat their homes. Given how much of our economy is driven by consumer spending, it’s hugely impactful when folks have a few extra bucks in their pockets each week to spend on food, clothing or other items.

And low prices are good for those companies who depend on trucks and fleets to move their products across the country and globe.

However, it’s important that we continue to evolve how we talk about oil and gas in 2016. We need to move beyond the arguments of yesterday, beyond discussions about oil and gas merely as fuels for our cars and our homes.

We need to be able to speak to all of the ways that what this industry does touches the lives of everyone, every day. Everything we wear, sit on, drive in, lean on, eat, and/or talk on is made possible by oil and/or natural gas. We need to let people know that.

The cost of manufacturing in the United States also is going down, thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling.

It’s already cheaper to manufacture here than in Europe and soon it will be cheaper to manufacture here than in China. That means, it’s time to bring jobs back to this country. It’s time for businesses to expand domestically and time for entrepreneurs to start businesses here in Colorado and to help grow our economy.

Thank you, fracking. And thank you frackers – who aren’t thanked enough for doing their jobs which in turn all Coloradans jobs rely on.

Also, as we increase our domestic production, we’re becoming more energy secure and relying less on hostile nations for our energy — that means a safer world for our children and grandchildren. We need to tell that story, too.

If your job is benefitting people around the world — which it is — you need to let people know.

It’s also important to remember that there are opportunities at the bottom of a down cycle. This is where innovation is born and careers are made.

The oil and gas industry will move forward in 2016, and it will show the ingenuity that in recent years has made this industry more high tech than the high tech industry.

Industry will meet the challenges before us, as we’ve always done, and we will remain a world leader in producing oil and natural gas efficiently and responsibly. And that work will continue to change and transform our world.

At COGA, we will follow your lead in innovation and ingenuity. We will strive to be the best state trade association in country. We will push the envelope.

Just like during the good times we didn’t sit back and crow about all we were doing. And today, like you, we won’t sit back and say woe is me.

Yes, there are many challenges ahead, but at COGA, we also see opportunity.
We will look at things in a new light and find new ways to support and help you as we work together to help move this vital industry forward.

We’re excited about the long-term future of our industry and we look forward to serving you, representing you, and fighting for you in the months ahead.